Crooners Supper Club in Fridley, which pushed to create multiple outdoor venues in the summer and fall, as well as to evolve the audience experience in new ways in order to maintain safety and comfort during the pandemic, is taking a number of steps to create a new concert experience indoors.
The reopening of Crooners Jan. 28, after a 9-week pause necessitated by the State’s closing order during the holidays, emphasizes not only the introduction of a dramatically remodeled MainStage with multiple enhancements, but also the announcement of stringent Covid upgrades to both the space, service and overall concert experience.
Relaunching the MainStage was the revered harmony group Moore by Four – led by Sanford Moore, with Connie Evingson, Dennis Spears, Ginger Commodore and special guest Ashley Commodore. Also appearing on the MainStage on the opening weekend was the New York-based, five-time Grammy-nominated jazz innovator Karrin Allyson.
Tickets are now on sale via www.croonersmn.com.
“This is all new territory for all of us,” said Crooners owner Mary M. Tjosvold. “As we did on June 1 when we staged our first drive-in concert, and we were still under curfew from the protests, we are prepared to be bold. We are committed to doing what we can to help the music scene and also to provide hope and satisfaction for our audiences. And just as we did this past summer, we are asking our musicians and our audiences to make adjustments with us. I believe the vast majority of our community is ready to work with us once again to approach the new circumstances sensibly and with respect for our mutual well-being.”
Another major accommodation for audiences is the development of a professional digital broadcast capability that allows Crooners to livestream a number of shows for at-home audiences unable to attend in person.
“There will be a mix: free livestreams and pay-per-view shows,” said Crooners music director Andrew Walesch.
The free livestreams (a minimum of one-a-week from the Dunsmore) are being supported by the “Keep Music Live” Fund administered by the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, which was created by a group of local music patrons led by Mike and Donna Wolsted. The Fund, which raised $25,000 in March and April, is contributing new funds to underwrite artist compensation costs for these free broadcasts. The Crooners Pay-per-View concerts are premium ticketed livestreams shot with four cameras and crystal clear audio.
(The shows will be archived for sale for additional viewers after the original air date.)
“Musicians want to play, and they want to play in a safe environment. That is why we are taking so many special measures,” Walesch said. “The main thing is that we see this as a joint effort with everyone doing their part.”
The new initiatives include the following:
Masks will be mandatory throughout the club, and guests will be asked to keep masks on when not actively eating or drinking.
Verbal applause will be substituted by more vigorous clapping. Social distancing will be observed throughout the club.
Both music dining rooms will function at half-capacity, with distance-safe table seating for parties of two, three and four – no shared tables. Both rooms have plexiglass protection at the lip of the stage. Physical upgrades to THE MAINSTAGE include: new high-performance HVAC (with a total of three separate air-flow units), higher ceilings, new sound and lighting and raised seating in the rear to improve sightlines.
The Dunsmore also has dedicated HVAC, and because it is a smaller space, the use of fusion ventilation, which introduces fresh air from the outside (without lowering the temperature) will provide optimum circulation.
Dinner and drink table service begins one hour before showtimes in both the MainStage and the Dunsmore.