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Junction Arts and Music offers recordings of past shows

By Amy Kenny

There may not be any new performances taking place in Haines Junction as part of Junction Arts and Music this summer, but fans of the decades-old arts series can revisit 20 years of past performances. 

“We have the benefit of a great sound engineer here in Haines Junction who has, for years, recorded shows,” says Ronald Schatz, president of the JAM board. JAM decided in mid-March to cancel events going forward until distancing directives change around the COVID-19 pandemic. “There are about 126 recordings on the website, so you can go back and pick any one of 126 professionally recorded events that have transpired here.” 

Schatz says few people may be aware of the cache of music available on the JAM website (“We’re not a rich organization, so our website is not a 2020 style of website,” he says. “But let me tell you … ”). This constitutes JAM Live, one of the three streams programmed by JAM (the other two include JAM’s live events and a biannual three-month artist residency). 

He says that JAM events, while always well-attended, are obviously not considered an essential service. He says he hasn’t heard much from the community about cancellations, as most people in the Junction are focused on what they can do to support food banks and community members who have lost work. 

However, he says if people are missing live music, the opportunity is there to explore and re-live it.  

The JAM Live collection has everything from folk and gospel, to jazz, reggae and rock. It features recordings from local musicians such as Major Funk and the Employment, Ryan McNally, and Scott Maynard’s Jennihouse, as well as out-of-towners including Hamilton’s Terra Lightfoot and Zimbabwe a cappella group, Black Umfolosi. 

Schatz says that, at the moment, everything up to the end of JAM’s fiscal year (July 31) is cancelled. The organization isn’t making plans past that date, though there is a tentative lineup in place and government funding was approved back in February to support programming through to July 2021. 

“The money has not been given, but it has been allocated. We’re not making any firm plans on implementation and, quite frankly, we take our direction from the Yukon’s chief medical officer, Dr. Brendan Hanley,” says Schatz. “Any change in our planning, that is to say when we flip a switch to renew planning for next year, it’s going to be driven by Hanley.”

A key directive for JAM, he says, is the March directive that limits gatherings to fewer than 10 people. 

“So we cannot run monthly events anymore but we can benefit form what’s been done in the past,” he says. “I think we’re pretty well situated.”

Listen to the recordings here.