MOSSEL BAY NEWS - Superstar Lady Gaga's Together at Home virtual concert on 19 April, featuring some of the biggest names in entertainment, was on everyone's lips this past weekend.
Artists including Billie Eilish Lizzo, the Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift and many more performed from their homes in aid of Coronavirus treatment and vaccine development and raised $128 Million for Covid-19 relief.
Locally in Mossel Bay, artists followed suit when the Mossel Creative Culture Association (Mocca) hosted its first virtual concert streamed from the facebook page on Sunday, 19 April, although it is not intended as a fundraiser just yet.
“Artists have been here in good times and bad. We exist to be on stage, to entertain, to inspire. In these extraordinary times staying home is the best way to care for our world, but why should that stop us from bringing you some entertainment from our most talented artists?” said Mocca chair, cabaret singer Petronel Baard, on announcing the event.
Artists were tasked to share, record and send their work to be compiled into a concert of just under 50 minutes. Performances included both instrumental and vocal numbers, dance, spoken word, hip hop and comedy.
‘Like a reunion’
Vlambojant, who made their debut at the Dias Festival this year, couldn’t perform with their full band. Riska and Carel du Plessis said they felt honored to be able to bring inspiration and hope in a creative way. “We enjoyed being part this virtual concert because we got to see fellow Mossel Bay creatives in their homes, some whom we have never met.”
They say that when they tuned into the collaborative Watch Party, surprisingly they sensed a nervousness similar to stepping on to a stage.
“Both of us were looking at each other and laughing at ourselves. I believe it doesn’t change the performance game. It broadens opportunity, cementing connection in a different way,” says Riska du Plessis.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if virtual shows continue long after lockdown. Maybe not for the sake of an income, but to connect and to brighten the lives of those who might never be able to attend a live show.”
Pianist Annette Strydom agrees that the concert gave her a much-needed sense of being on stage. “Artists need an audience, and in turn they offer music to heal the soul. The concert gave us this opportunity.” Her son, Eric, watched the concert from California.
Mocca vice chair Karin Cupido, despite being a seasoned performer since the 1980s, comments that the concert was a growth and learning process for her.
Singer songwriter Tanja Storm says that, at first, she participated with reluctance. “There are so many house concerts and performances. I just didn’t feel up to it. I didn’t feel like singing, nor tuning in and watching the final product. However, I did and nothing could have prepared me for exactly how special it was.”
Storm says everything about the concert, especially the emotion, was real. “It was like a reunion; as if we were all together in one place. It reminded me of why we do what we do. Not for money nor passion, but for the emotion of togetherness.”
Local economic stimulation
Baard appropriately concluded Sunday’s concert with a stirring rendition of Vera Lynn’s classic wartime song, We’ll meet again. Baard was due to perform at the KKNK this year and told the Mossel Bay Advertiser this week, that when the festival was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she immediately considered online performances.
“It took time to get everything into place, but I am so grateful that a private sponsor took our hand in this. We presented this concert as part of our contribution to local economic stimulation in these very difficult times.”
The next virtual concert will be screened on 26 April at 19:00. Visit Mocca’s facebook page to join the Watch Party.
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