Social distancing and restrictions on crowds have forced live music venues around the country to shut down. But An die Musik, a jazz club located downtown, is trying to keep a regular calendar of sorts, having musicians appear onstage and streaming the performances online.
Artists such as Michael Joseph Harris and Sami Arefin, Warren Wolf Trio and Caleb Stine have already taken part in what the venue is calling the Quarantine Concert Series, and the Christian Hizon Quartet is set to perform this Sunday.
Henry Wong, the club’s owner, said An die Musik’s business has unsurprisingly taken a hit during the pandemic. The venue went from having shows almost every day of the week, including two or three on some weekend days, to just a handful of streaming concerts.
Nevertheless, he said he’s committed to showcasing the local music scene during this unique time.
“You’ve heard it before and a lot recently: Music is healing,” Wong wrote via email. “It’s a win-win to let it be local, Baltimore-based musicians provide that healing, while gaining exposure to a wide audience.”
In an interesting and pleasant twist, the online shows have drawn larger audiences than would typically appear at the intimate club, which tops out at 80 people. Wong said viewers from as far away as Alaska have tuned in for the performances.
Patrons can gain access to the streams for $5. A YouTube link will be sent out right before the show starts. And for people who can’t watch in real time, the concerts will be kept online for a short period of time so people can pay to watch later.
Wong said more than half of the proceeds go to the artists themselves, and viewers have the option to donate more than the initial $5 fee.
An die Musik had already begun filming and preserving shows, starting with a performance during Coffee, Patisserie, and Classical Music–a series curated by oboist Katherine Needleman that highlights woodwind instruments–earlier this month, before the pandemic escalated.
Starting the Quarantine Concert Series was a natural way to continue that and help artists at the same time. But Wong knows the shows do more than that.
“The real benefit is the connection between the artists and the home audiences,” he wrote.
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