HOLIDAY VOICES: Jackson continues to offer concert

Published 8:09 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2020

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When the Troy Arts Council realized that hosting the annual “Shelia Jackson and Friends Christmas Concert” at the Crosby Theater in 2020 was only a remote possibility, they began to look for an option.

What they discovered was that COVID-19 has made “virtual” the universal “going option” for the delivery of programming.

The idea to host “Sheila and Friends” virtually was, initially, just a way to offer the Christmas concert locally.

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“But it really worked out to be an even better than we imagined,” said Bill Hopper, president of the sponsoring Troy Arts Council. “We found a new way to deliver the Christmas concert so many more people had the opportunity to experience it.

“This virtual concert has really opened our eyes to something that, for us, is new. It’s a way to reach more people in more places and much more easily.”

Hopper said the “Shelia Jackson and Friends” Christmas concert has been viewed on local cable television and also streamed across the country.

“We have had people from all around the country view the concert, which is a showcase of local and area talent,” he said. “A viewer in California was extremely impressed with the variety of talent on the show — the singers, musicians and dancers. And, also, appreciative that she got to enjoy the concert without even buying a ticket.”

And, that same opportunity will be available to viewing audiences in the Wiregrass and River regions on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

“Shelia Jackson and Friends” will air on WAKA on Christmas Eve and on WSFA on Christmas Day.

“This will be a wonderful opportunity to hear beautiful music, great accompaniment and incredible dancing in the comfort of your home on these two special days of the year,” Hopper said. “And, what a great opportunity to showcase local talent in such a wonderful and meaningful Christmas show.”

Hopper said the success of TAC’s “Shelia and Friends” virtual concert has provided the arts organization with a new way to deliver in-person concerts so that more people will have the opportunity to enjoy them without having to leave home and at no charge.

‘Virtual programs also will be a way that we can take programs to the nursing home and other health care facilities,” he said. “Virtual programming has so many possibilities. We just have to tap into them.”

The TAC is continually seeking ways to provide arts opportunities to more people and virtually is the by-word, Hopper said.

As a way of saying “thank you again” to its 2020 patrons, the Troy Arts Council will provide 2021 program tickets, at no cost, for the shows that were cancelled.

“The TAC is devoted to providing quality arts experiences to our local community and beyond,” Hopper said. “Now that we have seen that, virtually, we can reach farther than we ever imagined, we are extremely excited about the possibilities ahead for sharing the wealth of local talent far beyond what we have ever imagined.”