23.3 C
Elmira
Sunday, July 5, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Tuesday Live is not your standard Livestream concert series

Heidelberg resident Rob Witherspoon has created a weekly webstream series allowing Canadian talent to perform in front of a continually growing audience of music and comedy fans. As with many recent artistic initiatives and actions, this, too, was born of the pandemic.

The project emerged after Witherspoon saw the emerging COVID-19 crisis lead to the cancellation of a show he was slated to perform at a Fergus retirement home on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

 “I had worked up a show of seasonal music, a full two sets of Irish music. I put a lot of effort into it and had all these songs ready to go, and it got cancelled by the pandemic,” he explained.

Undeterred, Witherspoon decided to use all his preparations to take the show online via Facebook live, a streaming service he had dabbled with previously for only a couple of songs when he was in the mood. Every week since, Witherspoon has continued the stream, drafting regional and national musicians to join in on the fun.

Witherspoon has also added some stand-up comedy into the mix, and has created characters to liven up the show, providing something new and fresh week by week. One of these characters is Robbie O’Spoon, “an Irish fella who plays Irish songs.” Robbie was created specifically for the St.Patty’s Day stream. There’s also Willy Spoon, a NASCAR driver who lives in Witherspoon’s shed to ensure physical distancing is kept.

Some episodes also feature themes, such as an entirely Canadian music set, similar to the one Witherspoon performs for the Elmira Canada Day celebration at Gore Park. After his performance that night, he heard of the death of folk legend John Prine, who passed away April 7 due to COVID-19. Given Prine’s considerable influence on his own music, Witherspoon gathered musicians for a cover show dedicated to the artist. Witherspoon has carried on with adding guests ever since.

In a more recent stream, Reba Joy created a smile video. “She collected phone videos people had shot that have given them joy during the pandemic and put it to a soundtrack for the 10th episode anniversary show.”

Overall, the reception has been great for the new project, he said. A large community has come together to enjoy themselves from the comfort of their homes and explore the entertaining values of Witherspoon and company.

Now some 40 years into his music career, Witherspoon’s introduction to music began at the expense of his older brothers’ guitar and Eagles songbook he would borrow towards the end of high school and the beginning of his college career. After that, he began performing and hasn’t stopped since. Although his performance ethic may have hindered as a result of coronavirus, he is not lightening up.

When people inquire about Witherspoon’s style of music, they ask usually ask if he’s country, rock or pop. In truth, he combines elements of all those genres into what he describes as “Southern Ontario suburban roots music.”

Having one specific label on his style, Witherspoon says, may stifle him into a box, limiting creativity.

Streams can be watched through both Facebook and YouTube. For more information and to listen to some of his music, visit his website.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

ON THE MENU

Grilled mojo chicken should be on your July Fourth menu

If you want to know what elevated grilled chicken tastes like, order mojo chicken from a Cuban rotisserie. The simple but lively combination of tart citrus and sweet garlic is grilled perfection.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

Looking to do some research about the communities we serve? Browse through the years in our online archives.

Back in the saddle again

Day camps are among activities now permitted as the economy opens, though subject to safety measures such as physical distancing. That the...

Holiday fireworks can have a big impact on our pets

There were no big fireworks shows to mark Canada Day this week, but that loss of a traditional part of the celebration...

Elmira Pentecostal Assembly puts a twist on their classic car show

Car shows – from large formal events to drop-in gatherings in a neighbourhood parking lot – are a staple of summertime living....

This year, it’s not just the kids saying goodbye

When Diane Martin started teaching at the Elmira Community Nursery School in 1984, she probably didn’t plan on being there more than...

Local artist turns her passion into a way to help others

Julie Wemp left her career as a registered massage therapist at the end of April, retiring after 19 years. Now she has...

Dealing with stress has been a big part of our response to COVID-19, expert says in WCHC presentation

The coronavirus pandemic and resultant lockdown having thrown everything out of equilibrium, disrupting our sense of normalcy, it’s no surprise that emotions...

Keeping older adults healthy through the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic showing signs of slowing down, Waterloo Region is entering phase two of the province’s structured reopening plan. But a...

Wellesley Lions cancel this year’s Don Green slo-pitch fundraiser due to coronavirus concerns

Add the Don Green slo-pitch tournament to the list of local events that have been cancelled thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Advertisement -