20-04-29 Portland Cello

Four members of the Portland Cello Project will perform a free concert via Zoom on Saturday.

With restrictions placed on public gatherings, COVID-19 has taken its toll on the events calendar. Previously scheduled concerts, workshops, plays, parties, lectures, screenings and more have been canceled in the interest of public safety.

While people can no longer come together to appreciate art in public, organizations are finding alternative ways to provide entertainment, thanks in large part to streaming options available on the Internet.

That is precisely what the Sun Valley Museum of Art will do this Saturday, May 2. In partnership with the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Mont., the museum will present a free online concert by the Portland Cello Project, an ensemble from Portland, Ore.

Four performers from the group—Nancy Ives, Diane Chaplin, Gideon Freudmann and Skip von Kuske—will stream their concert under the artistic direction of Douglas Jenkins at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“As we’ve been in self-isolation, many organizations, including the Sun Valley Museum of Art and Company of Fools, have worked to share the arts with their friends and supporters,” said Kristine Bretall, director of performing arts for the museum. “This has meant sharing Hemingway House Sessions recordings, art projects for adults and children, video exhibition walk-throughs from our newest Big Idea project, Free Play, and Company of Fools’ new podcast, Foolish Voices.”

As Bretall notes, SVMoA has been in overdrive posting content on its website and various social media accounts, but this concert will be the first event of its kind for the cornerstone Blaine County arts nonprofit.

According to Bretall, a conversation about online presentations with John Zirkle, executive director of the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, planted the seed of collaboration between the two organizations. The Portland Cello Project, which has performed for both organizations and has been tapped by SVMoA for its 2021 Performing Arts Series, seemed a clear favorite for the digital concert.

“The live performance will take place with the musicians playing in a backyard in Portland, unless it’s raining. In that case, we will broadcast from multiple homes,” Bretall said, explaining the logistical undertaking.

“I feel so fortunate to be working with John Zirkle and Doug Jenkins on this,” she added. “Each musician will perform a piece and perhaps collaborate on one, too. It’s sure to be a wonderful, one-of-a-kind event.”

This event will be livestreamed only once. None of the involved parties will be making a recording, so anyone who wants to enjoy this free offering will have to tune in at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Registrants may engage via svmoa.org or through the museum’s Facebook or Instagram pages. The broadcast will be served via Zoom, so participants are encouraged to install that program ahead of time.

The feed works both ways, and audience members will be able to engage in a moderated question-and-answer session with the musicians after the performance.

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