Over the past nine months, concerts, events, and celebrations have all been canceled. Live music has practically been silenced by COVID-19.
Village Church, a small, non-denominational congregation in Burbank, California, has decided to bring Christmas joy to the world via a free, live Christmas concert featuring an in-person 60-member socially-distanced orchestra and a 100+ member virtual choir.
Jingle All the Way! is scheduled for 5:00 pm PST Sunday, December 13 and can be viewed live on the Village Church Burbank YouTube and Facebook pages. A very limited number of free tickets are available on EventBrite.com for the socially-distanced live audience at the Village Christian School Football Field, 8930 Village Avenue, Sun Valley, CA 91352.
The project is the brainchild of Daniel Semsen, Pastor of Worship and Arts at Village Church, and a nine-time Dove Award-winning Arranger and Orchestrator. “The arts have been devastated by COVID-19 because we can no longer gather together to make great art, said Daniel “Not only has the general public felt this void in their lives because of the lack of concerts and other group activities, but the artists themselves have been feeling this loss deep down in their souls. The goal of this concert is to safely and carefully bring some light and encouragement to those in our community and our world that are feeling discouraged and downtrodden this season.”
Because the musicians will be socially-distanced and playing outdoors, they will need to be individually mic’d and balanced through a special sound system. The choir will be virtual and presented on a large screen. This presents some unique challenges, resulting in the need to hire a professional sound company to the tune of $20K. A GoFundMe campaign – https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/love-live-music-miss-it-a-socially-distanced-christmas-concert-needs-your-support – was initiated a few weeks ago, and already over $12K has been raised from individual donations and local business sponsorship support.
Under Daniel Semsen’s direction, the Village Church Choir plus additional members from all over the United States and around the world, have been hard at work recording song parts/videos at home and sending them in weekly so that he can mix them together. The socially-distanced orchestra, consisting of high school and college music students, teachers, and musicians in the community have been rehearsing together for the past couple of months and will continue until the day of the concert.
For the past few years, Village Church has shared the spirit of Christmas with the Burbank area community by presenting free mid-December choir and orchestra concerts in downtown Burbank. But with COVID-19, singing and playing music in close quarters is just not possible. Choir Director Daniel Semsen came up with a solution where they could safely share this live music event with an in-person audience and people all over the world.