Kingston, ON – With the launch of its inaugural Sounds of Hope season, Music on Union is reclaiming the indoor concert experience and introducing a new concert venue.
Beginning August 6, 12:10 p.m. Music On Union will offer an eight-week series of free, 40-minute, Friday lunchtime concerts in St. James Anglican Church (corner of Union and Barrie). Popular local artist, Spencer Evans, will kick off the season in this new concert venue performing with the Spencer Evans duo.
Music on Union opens up long-awaited performance opportunities for musicians and answers the craving of many music-lovers for the more intimate experience of an indoor concert. Performances will include the jazzy tones of musicians Dave Barton and Paul Morrison, meditative percussion and storytelling from Kyoko Ogoda & Selina Chiarelli, fresh mixes on the accordion from Jan Le Clair, and the classical sounds of the Limestone Trio and pianist Clare Marion.
“COVID hit performance artists pretty hard. Our venues were all closed and our audiences were stuck at home,” said Sue Moore, Secretary-Treasurer of the Kingston Musicians Union, Local 518. “It is hard to make a living when there is nowhere to play and, though live streaming and outdoor concerts are great, there is nothing like the dynamic of a live audience in an indoor venue. The acoustics are different. The whole experience is different – for the artist and the audience member”.
Music On Union brings all three elements together again—reintroducing that special dynamic that comes from a great acoustic environment and the interplay of artist with audience.
Moore conceived Music on Union with Michael Capon, Music Director at St. James Anglican Church. The series takes its name from the location of St. James. While the church doesn’t have an established reputation as a major concert venue it does have many required attributes, including great acoustics and a high-end grand piano. It also boasts proximity to Queen’s and KGH—an important factor for Moore and Capon.
“Music has great wellness benefits”, said Capon. “Universities and Hospitals are high stress environments and Music on Union will be right on their doorstep providing an opportunity for staff and students to destress close to work and in a venue that has proven experience in managing the COVID protocols that will keep them safe.”
The Sounds of Hope tagline for this first season was selected in recognition that life is moving beyond the restrictions of the pandemic into a more hopeful “new normal”.
“We see this a season of new hope,” said Capon. “We chose that tagline as we want the sounds of live-music, experienced indoors by a live-audience, to be part of that new normal.”
Seats are offered free of charge thanks to the generous sponsorship from the little-known, but highly significant, Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). Other sponsors include the Kingston Musicians Union, Local 518 and St. James Anglican Church.
This MPTF was a lifeline for many local artists during lockdown, enabling them to live-stream performances. Livestream will also be a feature of the Sounds of Hope series. Moore and Capon recognize this as an important add-on while live-audience seating is limited by public health restrictions and some music-lovers are cautious about returning to the in-person experience.
Further information for the Sounds of Hope season, including seat reservations, a full roster of the eight concerts, and a streaming link, can be found at stjameskingston.ca/concerts.
About Music on Union
Music on Union was founded in 2021 to present live music, with a live audience in an indoor setting to the neighbourhood around St. James Anglican Church on Union Street. An initiative of the Kingston Musicians Union, Local 518, supported by St. James and initial sponsor the Music Performance Trust Fund, the Music on Union concert series was a response to the long pandemic-induced drought in both indoor performance opportunities for musicians and the intimate indoor concert experience for music lovers. The series also aims to promote the wellness benefits of music for the nearby hospital and university communities.