‘The Relief Sessions’ brings aid to music community

QCTV’s Relief Sessions, which are virtual concerts by local musicians, run 7-9 p.m. every Saturday through April. The benefit concerts are being done to help local musicians and stagehands impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. From left, Boyd and Aimée Lee, Scottie Miller, Shalo Lee and GB Leighton have all participated in The Relief Sessions so far.

Quad Cities Television and the 30-Days Foundation have teamed up to air The Relief Sessions, a series of six weekly live virtual concerts that benefit local musicians and stagehands impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

QCTV Executive Director Karen George said local musicians and stagehands saw their paychecks disappear once the COVID-19 pandemic started, which caused the shutdown of many bars, restaurants and concert venues.

“The pandemic is scaring local musicians and stagehands,” said 30-Days Foundation Executive Director Mick Sterling. “There are literally no venues to play. There are no theaters, clubs or bars open and no private parties or wedding receptions happening. There’s nothing, so something needed to happen.”  

In order to fill the gap, QCTV and the 30-Days Foundation created The Relief Sessions. The 30-Days Foundation, based in Golden Valley, assists people in real-life financial crises with one-time financial grants made payable to the service provider.

“‘The Relief Sessions’ are an opportunity to connect artist with audience,” George said. “It’s a way for QCTV to bring virtual integration programing and community involvement via our television channels, our online streaming platform with our website as well as online social media such as our Facebook page.”

The Relief Sessions features local musicians who perform live from the safety of their homes.

“As the pandemic unfolded, QCTV looked at how we could pivot our programming in different ways during the physical distancing orders,” George said. “We looked at our technology, and our staff figured out a way to bring multiple locations remotely through one connector point in a live environment and then air them on our channels, online and on social media.”

“It’s a unique setting to see really incredible singers and songwriters,” Sterling said. “It’s a very intimate setting to see people do what they do.”

Sterling organizes the lineup for each of the sessions. Musicians who have already performed include Shalo Lee, Joyann Parker, GB Leighton, Donnie and Jenny La Marca, Charlie Roth, Aimée and Boyd Lee, Dylan Salfer, Andrea Lyn, Scottie Miller and Brian Powers.

Audience members are encouraged to donate to the 30-Days Foundation, which then forwards 100% of the money to the musicians who performed.

During the March 28 segment of The Relief Sessions, $1,675 was raised for local musicians, and an additional $500 was donated by the Minnesota Blues Society to be distributed to local stagehands. On April 4, $2,700 was raised for the five musicians who performed.

“‘The Relief Sessions’ is a really wonderful virtual experience for people who can’t congregate together to still experience live music and help out their neighbors,” George said.

“We believe this is a great way to assist not only the musicians, but also the general public during this time of social isolation,” said QCTV Mobile Production Coordinator and Producer Taylor Johnson in a statement. “Our slogan for the show is: ‘Performing for nobody for everybody.’ We believe this show will continue to make an important impact in our local community with the need to stay connected while staying safe.”

To learn more or donate to the 30-Days Foundation, visit the30-daysfoundation.org. To watch old and new episodes of The Relief Sessions or to view the schedule for the Saturday, April 11, show, visit qctv.org/reliefsessions.

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