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April 22, 2020
Culture

Foyer Fridays: It’s a gig, but not as you know it

Local live music will be streamed from the beautiful art deco foyer of the Woodville Town Hall direct to your living room in a new series of gigs curated by Adam Page.

  • Words: Suzie Keen
  • Pictures: Supplied

SPECIAL REPORT: COVID-19 ADELAIDE

Two months ago, Adam Page was celebrating 15 years of Adelaide Fringe performances with what was dubbed the “2020 Festival of Page” – three different shows over five nights at the Wheatsheaf Hotel showcasing his instrumental, looping and improv wizardry.

He had no plans to take his foot off the pedal when Mad March ended. With he and his partner expecting a second baby, he’d organised a stack of work so he could afford to have a break after the birth in July.

Remarks

Foyer Fridays
Launch event: 7:30pm Friday, 1 May
Featuring Adam Page and Julian Ferraretto.

For details on future Foyer Fridays sessions, keep an eye on the Woodville Town Hall Facebook page.

Then COVID-19 happened.

“Obviously it’s not an ideal situation for me, but I’m going to make it work,” Adam says.

“The great thing about being a musician is that the freedom of the career choice lets me be my own boss and create my own work.”

The multi-instrumentalist has already livestreamed a couple of 30-minute solo ‘Improvisation for Isolation’ shows on Facebook, and now he’s joined forces with western suburbs venue Woodville Town Hall to present a series of free livestreamed shows from the historic hall’s foyer throughout May.

Foyer Fridays was originally planned to begin in April with a live audience, but has been adapted for an online format because of the current pandemic restrictions.

“From all the planning, it’s going to be quite a slick-looking performance with multi camera angles and high-definition sound, so I think it is something we will be really proud of and which people can enjoy on an aesthetic level as well,” says Adam, who has wanted to play in the Town Hall himself ever since he saw the Punch Brothers there last year.

The first Foyer Fridays performance, from 7.30pm-8.30pm on 1 May, will see Adam perform with local jazz violinist and composer Julian Ferraretto.

The pair will play jazz-steeped music with plenty of improvisation and looping, and an eclectic collection of instruments including keyboards, bass guitar, flute, percussion, violin, mandolin and even a musical saw.

“We’ve both got a lot of experience performing together as a duo and in other ensembles so essentially it will be adding his sounds to my existing looping setup,” Adam says. “We will be improvising and bouncing of each other – it will be a lot of fun.”

 

Next in the Foyer Fridays lineup will be singer-songwriter Aaron Thomas (15 May) and classically trained pianist, violinist, percussionist and singer-songwriter Fleur Green (29 May). Both will play 100 per cent original music.

“They’re both very different to me and what I do and very different to each other, and that’s another thing I wanted to get out of this particular series … to expose audiences to some of the amazing talent we have in this city and not just within one genre and style,” Adam says.

While the livestreamed performances will be free to watch, the musicians are being paid by the City of Charles Sturt – an important show of support when performers everywhere are struggling to survive with the financial blow caused by the forced cancellation of live gigs.

“Here at Charles Sturt, we want to connect our community throughout this pandemic, and through arts and culture we can connect people and support our local artists,” says Mayor Angela Evans.

“This is a new way to experience music; it is important for our mental health and wellbeing to connect, share experiences, and celebrate the way music makes us feel.”

Woodville Town Hall is looking to expand Foyer Fridays in the future by calling for applications from local musicians within the City of Charles Sturt to take part in the June series.

Adam is also planning to present more of his own Improvisation for Isolation concerts. He believes this style of livestreamed performance will remain popular even after the coronavirus restrictions ease, and may have other benefits for artists.

“We’re at a really unique and exciting moment in our history where as an entire artistic community we’re figuring out ways to get our art out there for people to consume.

“What it will do is it will increase our web of fans and increase our chances of getting our art out to ears that would never have heard it before. So I’m really optimistic that this change we are having to make will have some profound outcomes into the future.”

 

Meanwhile, even though he misses playing regular gigs and jam sessions with other musicians, Adam is relishing the extra time with his partner and three-year-old daughter. He’s also planning to start writing a saxophone concerto.

But there’s one thing he can’t wait to do when the period of enforced physical distancing ends.

“Hugging! I’m a hugger – I can’t wait to hug people… I just miss it so much.

“That closeness and intimacy we have as a species, when you take that away you realise how important it is at a really grassroots level for our wellbeing and inner psyche – we need connection and touch.

“Playing and doing gigs again will be fantastic but these situations really force you to thing think about what’s important.”

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