Vt. Arts Groups Streaming Holiday Entertainment During Pandemic

Several organizations are offering virtual concerts or other performances this year

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As have so many other aspects of life in 2020, holiday concerts are going virtual this year in Vermont.

"We're more and more thinking that video isn't a problem — it's a benefit for theaters," said Doug Anderson, the artistic director of Middlebury's Town Hall Theater, which is among the organizations offering streaming Christmas entertainment during the pandemic.

Town Hall Theater's Holiday Jukebox will showcase a range of musical styles, Anderson promised.

A $10 ticket gets you a pass to songs you can watch on video from noon on Christmas Eve through the holiday weekend. Money raised supports the food shelf at HOPE, a social services agency that serves Addison County.

"I expect to hear people say, 'Thank you for this, I was feeling a little isolated, it wasn't feeling much like Christmas, the carolers didn't come by this year,'" Anderson predicted. "Well, the carolers are coming by, they're just on your TV."

The curtain rises the evening of Sunday, Dec. 20, on a streaming holiday variety show from Vermont's volunteer-driven Lyric Theatre Company.

Lyric's executive director, Erin Evarts, told NECN the group really missed entertaining some 15,000 live audience members in Burlington this year when the pandemic forced the cancellation of two splashy musicals.

So the streaming special, called "Miracle on Green Tree Drive," aims both to recoup some of the nonprofit's lost ticket revenues and to share some old-fashioned holiday cheer.

"We'd like to think that this is us giving a gift to the community, but at the same time, it's a real gift and a real responsibility to be invited into somebody's home at the holidays," Evarts observed.

Lyric produced the special following COVID-19 safety guidelines, Evarts noted.

"Miracle on Green Tree Drive" is $20 for a single pass and $45 for a group viewing — plus a service fee. The special is available until Jan. 20.

"You're giving a gift that can go around the world when you can't go around the world," Evarts said, recommending a viewing could make a good present for someone who enjoys music.

Burlington's New Year's Eve tradition also found a way to continue.

"We're going virtual," Mayor Miro Weinberger said. "But it's not going to be just another Zoom call."

Shows from Highlight Burlington used to be presented on stages throughout the city.

This year, they will instead be on a new digital platform called "Run the World." For under $12, folks can check out more than 100 artists, plus a streaming fireworks show from the city's waterfront.

One of the goals is to get some earnings flowing to performers who lost out on traditional gigs, according to the organizers at Signal Kitchen and Burlington City Arts.

"What I love about it is that Burlington is able to roll out the red carpet and say, 'Welcome,' to the world, right here live from Burlington, Vermont," said Doreen Kraft, the executive director of Burlington City Arts.

Click here for more information on Highlight.

These examples demonstrate how the old saying is true: the show really does go on.

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