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Nominated for musician of the year

Heidelberg’s Rob Witherspoon is up for musician of the year honours in the Record’s contest. [Damon Maclean]

Rob Witherspoon has been actively engaging an online community through his Tuesday Live web streams, and now his efforts have been recognized. Witherspoon is one of approximately 30 local musicians/bands nominated for the Waterloo Regions musician of the year, a readers’ choice contest run by Waterloo Region Record.

Witherspoon notes that his Tuesday Live internet variety show has “an ebb and a flow to it” when it comes to the virtual turnout. With streams simultaneous on YouTube and Facebook, Witherspoon estimate 30-50 people tune in for the live event, which he equates to roughly the same amount of people at a pub or private event where he’d perform prior to the COVID-19 lockdown.

He’s less sure of the cumulative 500 people following the real-time performance, skeptical about how many of that total would watch the whole hour-long broadcast. He also estimates between 100-200 comments per show – not entirely a replacement for fan interaction,  but something that has helped him increase his performance side of things.

The former high school teacher has dreams of taking Tuesday Live and some of its acts on the road. Although nothing is set in stone, he envisions a variety of possibilities, one being a variety show of its own. One of his regular guests since near the start of Tuesday Live is Sandy McKay, who lives in New Brunswick. And part of his inspiration to look at how to bring the community on the road following the pandemic.

“I thought, ‘well, even like a show on the road’ – we’re all just going to get a big tour bus and drive up to New Brunswick and pick up Sandy and head west and head back cross country picking people up in an old-school van, your ’60-’70’s kind of rock ‘n’ roll travelling show.”

Witherspoon acknowledges that he is getting older and is also interested in sharing his knowledge of music and performaning to future musicians, using his previous teaching experience.

“As an older musician, I’m sort of thinking what can I do that will leave an impact on [younger] musicians that can help them build their careers. Who knows what it would look like? There’s a lot of different ways.”

Through his solid playing ability and the development of goofy characters like Willy O’Spoon, Witherspoon has honed his skills, most notably his stagecraft. That improvement has helped him in controlling and creating his Tuesday Live shows, he notes.

Witherspoon encourages people to tune in to Tuesday Live and hopes people will vote for him in the Reader’s Choice Awards following his recent nomination. Through the use of live streaming services, Witherspoon has continued to build his name in the community, bringing his Heidelberg suburban folk tunes and showmanship to fans across the country, while connecting with other artists.

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