While live music has been largely shut down due to the coronavirus, I've had the honor of partnering with some extremely talented musicians and production teams to bring the Dayton community a diverse sampling of original music that you can access for free, from home, right here on Dayton.com (or Dayton.com's FB page) on Thursday July 9, from 8-9:30 p.m.
The concert is entitled "Tip Jar: A Show of Thanks" and is set up as a telethon style event to raise funds for the Dayton area's hospitality workers, who have suffered financially during the coronavirus shutdown. The Ohio Restaurant Relief Fund has received generous support from the local donors and the business community, in particular.
>>> Read more: Dayton musicians come together for virtual concert to help Ohio restaurant workers
Tip Jar: A Show of Thanks premiered on Saturday May 30th, however that coincided with the first weekend of the George Floyd protests. Although we pre-promoted the event through marketing and articles such as this, once the protests started, our attention, along with everyone else’s, turned to the protests and demands for racial justice.
Now that the coronavirus is re-surging, and local restaurant workers are still struggling financially, we decided to replay the concert to try to reach our financial goal for the fundraiser. We also wanted to re-share the concert since so many talented musicians poured their hearts into this very special show. This has been an incredible opportunity to lift up diverse voices, and to show to Dayton how talented this next generation truly is.
HOW TO WATCH:
This project started when I got a call from Chris Dimmick of the newly opened Tender Mercy bar downtown. Chris had watched Couch Fest, a virtual festival put on by a group of folks in Springfield group, including COhatch, Ambient Productions, Joseph Harrison and Elijah Seabrook, among others.
Credit: Libby Ballengee
Credit: Libby Ballengee
Chris wondered if something similar could be done in Dayton. Knowing I curate and produce live concerts locally with my company Venus Child Productions, he asked me to join on the team, along with Ambient Productions and Sound Valley.
The concept was to produce a virtual concert, featuring a diverse line-up of emerging talent from the Dayton area, as a fundraiser to help area restaurant and hospitality workers who have lost a significant portion of their normal income due to the pandemic.
We partnered with the Dayton Foundation and the Ohio Restaurant Association to establish a special fund just for Montgomery and Greene County workers in need, similar to the funds set up last year for tornado and mass shooting victims.
One difference between last year's tragedies and the pandemic is that all musicians are also squarely in the victim category this time too, so we wanted to make sure they were compensated for their time and talents. Culture Works came to the rescue with a special generous grant to allow us to compensate them. Even still, some musicians volunteered their time entirely.
Actually putting the show together was an altogether different experience from doing a live show. In a normal concert set up, musicians play long sets where audience members typically come and go at their leisure, getting drinks, talking with friends. Concerts can certainly be both atmospheric and all consuming, depending on the band.
Shifting to a virtual setting, where the audience is watching from phones, tablets, computers, and maybe a television, there isn’t that exchange of energy that makes live performances so special. We’re also asking people to turn to their screens after many have been on them all week at work.
Although selecting the line-up was a group effort, my approach was to make an exciting and compelling mix that will delight a variety of audiences. We also wanted to shine a light on emerging talent, and new faces you may not be hip to yet. We even have some high school kids performing!
One of the best parts of this experience was working with the film and sound crew from Ambient Productions. Led by Chad Wilson, along with Dylan Herring and Alex Runyan, they were absolute professionals, who tediously filmed, recorded and mastered every track so the sound will rock you from your headphones or home stereo.
It was also an opportunity to partner with Zac Pitts and Ashley Karsten of Sound Valley again, who also helped me produce this year’s Dayton Battle of the Bands. Along with filming many of the sponsor messages, Zac and I serve as the event’s emcees.
We collectively found ourselves back at the Brightside Music & Event Venue in downtown Dayton for the majority of the filming as their large ballroom stage provided room for social distancing. We also recorded performances at Toxic Brew Company and Ned Pepper's in the Oregon District.
The entire show is pre-produced because we wanted it to have excellent quality and avoid the technical issues that come with live streaming. The result is an energetic collection of music that showcases the incredible talent this town possesses.
Our goal is to raise $100k for the Ohio Restaurant Relief fund, and with generous support from our sponsors we are already at $68k pledged and approximately $5k donated during the initial airing on May 30th. We’ll be encouraging people to donate at home, but the show is absolutely free to watch.
I’m thrilled to share this virtual concert with the Dayton community, particularly readers of this blog. This is one show you certainly don’t want to miss.
HOW TO WATCH:
What: Tip Jar: A Show of Thanks
When: Saturday, July 9, 2020 from 8-9:30 p.m.
Where: Streaming on Dayton.com's Facebook page.
More info: Facebook event details
For those who wish to donate to the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, you can do so by visiting the Dayton Foundation's website. If you are a restaurant worker in need of monetary help, you can apply for this relief by visiting the relief fund's website.
NOTE: Performances not in this order, you’ll have to wait and watch for yourself!
- The Story Changes, featuring members of Hawthorne Heights
- Jessica Hung, Concert Master of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra
- Kevin Carter featuring Valerie (performs "Dayton Strong" song)
- Allison Justice of The Katawicks (The Katawicks won the Dayton Battle of the Bands)
- Mariah J
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