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Weekend In Virtual Entertainment: Charlotte Symphony, Boom Festival, Opera Carolina & More!

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Although members of the Charlotte Symphony won’t be performing live anytime soon because of the coronavirus pandemic, they are doing something special for the public through a virtual performance that includes many moving parts. But they’re not the only ones going virtual. There’s the Boom Festival, Opera Carolina and others. Joining WFAE's "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn for this edition of Weekend In Entertainment is Matt Olin, co-founder of Charlotte Is Creative.  

Gwendolyn Glenn: Hi Matt.

Matt Olin: Hi Gwen. 

Glenn: The Charlotte Symphony’s virtual performance is called "A Symphony A Part" for fans sheltering in place. Tell us about it.

Olin: Yes. So the musicians will be playing the fifth movement of Beethoven's masterpiece at the same time -- but apart from one another. Some of them may be on a sidewalk in front of their home or at their kitchen table with the window open or maybe on their front porch in NoDa. 

Glenn: Hence the symphony "apart?"

Olin: That's exactly right. And so that's different from what a lot of symphonies are doing around the world, which, you know, they typically record themselves separately and then piece it together. But the symphony here in Charlotte, they're gonna be on a tightrope with no net. And that, I think, is intended to underscore this idea that sheltering in place is important. But also music can help us overcome fear. 

Glenn: And when will everyone be able to see the finished product?

Olin: Videos of the individual performances will be available at asymphonyapart.com, #CSOatHome, and facebook.com/CLTSymphonyMusicians on April 20.

Glenn: The annual Boom Festival is another event that's going virtual and that takes place in Plaza Midwood, normally. And it's now going live with a place close to you, right Matt?

Olin: That's exactly right. I mean, the fifth annual Boom Festival was planned for this weekend, but of course, with a stay-at-home order, that just can't happen. So this Saturday at 4 p.m., which would have been kind of the peak time of their schedule, they're going to be hosting an online event that they're calling "Boom in the Living Room." It's going to feature 25 artists that were a part of the festival this year, and they're going to be sharing their work online. The cool thing about this is that the attendees will basically hop from platform to platform, on Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom, Twitch, YouTube, etc. Kind of like you're running to different areas and performances at the Boom Festival in Plaza Midwood. 

Glenn: And for those who are new to the city, what is the Boom Festival? 

Olin: It this beautiful festival of contemporary art that takes place in Plaza Midwood every year. Lots of really cool performances both from local artists and also visiting artists. 

Glenn: And as you said, the artists who will be performing in the virtual event, they were scheduled to perform this year?

Olin: That's exactly right. 

Glenn: And Matt, since the beginning of the month, Opera Carolina has streamed a virtual event every Friday. What are they doing today?

Olin: Yeah. Like you said, every Friday, they host this virtual event, either musical or educational in nature. The series is called iStream Fridays. Friday at 6 p.m. on Facebook Live, they featured resident artist Sarah “Jersey” Roche with a special guest, Justin Traxler. And you can follow the opera on Facebook at Opera Carolina, to catch those virtual concerts. They're also going to upload the concert to their YouTube channel 24 hours later. So you can really watch 'em at any time.

Glenn: And for future reference on a WFAE virtual entertainment event: For this month on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon, WFAE’s Amplifier podcast host Joni Deutsch will also host WFAE’s series Songversations live on Facebook. It features local musicians brought together virtually with an audience to create a special interview/performance experience. Matt, have you seen any of them yet? 

Olin: I have, and they're beautiful. And we just love everything that Joni is bringing to our community and to the music community, in particular, here. 

Glenn: Soul crooner Anthony Rodriguez, lead singer for the band Soulganic is on this week’s installment. Let’s have him take us out. 

Olin: Sounds great Gwen.

Glenn: Matt, thanks for being with us today.

Olin: Thank you.

Glenn: That’s Matt Olin, co-founder of Charlotte Is Creative.