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Purple People Bridge Is Stage For Choral Concert That's Far From 'Normal'

Stephanie Eldred
Courtesy of YPCC
The YPCC holds a rehearsal in advance of the Building Bridges concert.

Arts organizations, especially choruses, are looking for unique ways to safely create as the pandemic continues. Some 80 members of the Young Professionals Choral Collective will present their first live concert Friday in a far from usual manner.

Singers will wear masks, be socially distanced and perform while spread across the Purple People Bridge.

Executive Director Scotty McEvoy says the concert is about pushing boundaries.

"We and our singers want to just put this out there as a demonstration that we are still willing to make art and we are still here to make art, and we're going to find a way to do it," he says. "Maybe singing on a bridge is the way to do it and maybe it's not but we want to give it a try."

The Friday event is free and begins at 6 p.m. Audience members on the bridge will be spaced out and asked not to leave their spots. Everyone must wear masks. The concert will be broadcast on a short-range FM radio station to amplify reach.

To make sure the masked singers can be heard, they'll be singing along to recording music that includes backing track, and two members of each vocal range will wear microphones.

McEvoy says it will be far from "normal."

"The singers aren't going to feel like it's a regular concert; the audience members aren't going to feel like it's a regular concert. We kind of want that, to remind people the arts do matter; we need to keep them going; we need to keep them alive through the pandemic so that someday we can return to a regular, nice concert experience without all these weird things we're dealing with."

The concert will last about 30 minutes and include four selections, two written for the YPCC, the choral standard The Road Home and, fittingly McEvoy says, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

The performance will be video-recorded and a virtual watch party is planned for Nov. 12. The event, titled Building Bridges - Keep the Arts Alive, is produced in partnership with The Carnegie's Creative Disruption Committee (Carnegie CDC)

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.