The COVID-19 pandemic, which shows no signs of abating in the US, has caused everyone to rethink their way of working and communicating. By June, it was looking increasingly likely that public performances would not be able to resume in the fall, and we worked quickly to find ways of creating new video content that would go far beyond the archival material in terms of ‘made for film’ experiences. Our extremely creative friend and board member, David Sabee, made the ingenious suggestion of doing this with some of the audio material we had produced (with David as our recording producer) for Stylus Fantasticus, our second commercial recording, which we are still planning to release this fall. Featuring the violin virtuosity of Tekla Cunningham and the colorful continuo of the PMW Band, we began to think of how to use video to tell convincing stories through the repertoire, working with a creative filmmaking team to create a series of visually dramatic music videos. We secured some stunning sites around Seattle, including Dunn Gardens and Warm Beach, brought the musicians and filmmakers together, and created storylines that grew from the music itself. This was new territory for all of us, and I feel it has extended our circle of creative collaborators in wonderful ways.
We are aiming to unveil some of the results of this collaboration at our online gala event on October 11th. Simultaneously, we have reconceived the fall season itself as another opportunity to create filmed experiences that will be able to engage our audience with the added value of interviews with the artists. Additionally, we plan to use Zoom to be able to simulate, as best we can, the experience of actually being together in one place. We were able to test this format with concerts we produced this summer in another collaboration, this time between PMW and Tekla Cunningham’s Whidbey Island Music Festival. The results have been promising in the sense of satisfied customers and their statements of support, and have taught us much about the process of making this type of content available to you in effective and accessible ways.
Invention and reinvention will continue to be called for by artistic staff and board alike – Pacific MusicWorks is extremely lucky to have such a dedicated group of people to engage in this huge but fruitful task.