Gord Wilson is one of the artists featured in the second part of the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre's Focus online series Feb. 4-7. (VDPAC photo)

Okanagan artists focus of online show viewed worldwide

Series debuted to more than 1,200 viewers, episode 2 coming up

A second set of artists are taking the stage for Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre’s FOCUS online series.

The debut series garnered more than 1,200 viewers and rave reviews Jan. 21-24.

The first show featured the talents of Jodie B, Charlotte Backman, Manfred Harter and classic rock duo The Raz.

“We were so excited for episode one! It surpassed all our viewership expectations,” VDPAC marketing director and recording crew member Camillia Courts said. “There were people who tuned in from all over Canada, the U.S., Europe and China as well as all over the North Okanagan.”

READ MORE: Vernon stage puts live music in focus

The next episode, Feb. 4-7, features Shaughnessy, Gord Wilson, Melina Schein and Gerry Scholomenko and Neil Fraser.

The FOCUS series is an online extension of VDPAC’s live, onstage SPOTLIGHT season presentations streaming for free.

The bi-weekly series is comprised of seven, 15 to 25-minute episodes to introduce Okanagan audiences to VDPAC’s new online programming and showcase the region’s rich established, mid-career and emerging talent.

Twenty-two performing artists will be featured in this first FOCUS series, including the rockabilly band Dixie Fried Hep Katz, the Maritime Kitchen Party, fashion designer Jill Setah, ballroom dancers Heather Stranks and Jens Goerner, singer-songwriter Justin Moore, new-wave artist HaidenLaird, popular area band Chipko Jones and more.

“This is the first time the Performing Arts Centre has produced original online content,” Courts said. “And we are thrilled to be able now to give performing artists in the Okanagan Valley a worldwide platform with a high-quality presentation that truly represents their talent. Who knows where it might lead?”

Hosted by Beach Radio’s Brian Martin, the initial FOCUS Online Series features high-quality HD video, digital sound and technical production that showcases artists in the best possible light. Episodes are kept to accessible running times to allow online viewers multiple opportunities over each episode’s four-day viewing window. Artists are pre-recorded in the newly-renovated and upgraded MFH Studio or onstage in safety first closed sessions at the Performing Arts Centre, with post-production conducted in-house.

Artists are paid performance fees from VDPAC’s annual presenting grants and supplemental government funding received to help support artists through COVID-19’s prolonged shutdown of touring and live concerts.

There is no admission fee for the series, however, online audiences have the option to donate to help support the continued development of online programming.

FOCUS series streaming episodes are available through links posted on VDPAC’s Ticket Seller box office website at ticketseller.ca and on Facebook and Instagram.

“We need to keep our artists and audiences engaged and connected for the eventual return of live performances,” VDPAC’s executive director Jim Harding said. “But we are also looking to continue developing our online programming to complement our live SPOTLIGHT performances and to make these opportunities available to other independent and established artists in the region. We now have the recording and live-streaming technical resources and opportunity to do so, and the FOCUS Online Series has already begun to generate that interest.”

“Each FOCUS episode will offer a variety but equally engaging selection of artists,” Courts said. “We invite everybody to join us online and help celebrate the artists of the Okanagan Valley.”

READ MORE: Enjoy Okanagan Symphony Orchestra from the comfort of home


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Gord Wilson is among the artists lined up for the second part of the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre’s Focus online series Feb. 4-7. (VDPAC photo)

Gord Wilson is among the artists lined up for the second part of the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre’s Focus online series Feb. 4-7. (VDPAC photo)