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The Clayton Center Continues Weekly Livestream Concerts

02/18/2021

When The Clayton Center closed to the public in March 2020, the staff scrambled to cancel events and refund tickets. They also went to work brainstorming ways to continue to be productive while positively contributing to the health and well-being of the community.

That was when the weekly Wednesday night livestream concert series was born.

“We wanted to positively contribute to a depressing situation. We wanted to support those who lost work because of the shut down and bring some light entertainment to those stuck at home,” Executive Director Scotty Henley said.  

First the Center collaborated with local musicians. Henley said, “Clayton is more of a haven for talented artists than we ever knew. These musicians had suddenly lost their opportunity to earn a living, and they were willing to play to an empty house for tips and a small stipend.”

The fact that The Clayton Center could successfully livestream these small concerts was itself a product of in-house collaboration. The Clayton Center did not have the equipment or expertise to produce a livestream on their own. So they brought in the video production talent from the Town of Clayton’s Public Information Office. The combination allowed the Center to produce high quality recordings to stream from their Facebook Live page. They have since added YouTube as a platform for their livestreams as well.

The success of the weekly livestream events did not go unnoticed. Over the summer, The Clayton Center partnered with the North Carolina Arts Council to participate in NC Creates At Home, a campaign designed to bring high quality virtual arts experiences to an online community.

NC Arts provided funding available to support artists from across the state interested in working with The Clayton Center to create one of three types of content:

Performance – pre-recorded or livestream.
Masterclass – pre-recorded and broadcast online.
Workshop – livestreamed arts educational classes or a mini-workshop series that contains real-time interaction with audiences.

The partnership also allowed The Clayton Center to present The Malpass Brothers on July Fourth. With Independence Day activities canceled, viewers appreciated the chance to celebrate at home with a band they loved. The show was viewed by more than 1,000 people from around the world in real time. Thousands more enjoyed the video after the event.

The Clayton Center also has had the opportunity to collaborate with several performance artists who have used the auditorium to livestream, Zoom or record events for educational and entertainment purposes.

Cellist Shana Tucker, who used the auditorium in summer 2020 to record a segment for the Appalachian State University summer festival, said that she chose The Clayton Center as a backdrop for her videos because the auditorium gave her and her band “a figurative and literal ‘room’ to create a high-quality performance piece, and also so we would have the chance to play music together (in person) again. We hadn’t done that as a quartet since January…it felt good to play familiar music with familiar people, with friends…in a friendly, familiar place.”

The Clayton Center’s weekly concerts continue this week. For more information about upcoming concerts and to link to earlier shows, visit The Clayton Center online.

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