Chris Belt wears many hats in our local arts and music scene. He is a gifted guitarist and composer, a tireless booster for new voices and perspectives in creative and classical music circles, the curator of the In-Between Series, and executive director of the Timucua Arts Foundation. We also often think of him as one of the consciences of the creative music (and beyond) scene. That trait is evident in every answer he gave when Orlando Weekly approached him at the end of last week for his reflections and insight on what was happening in his corner of Orlando's larger music and arts world community as the world seemed to be falling apart around us all. For now, the Timucua house is closed to the public, but Belt sees new potential in livestreaming music to connect performers and audiences otherwise physically isolated. Belt's insights are keen and his empathy seems boundless, giving us a glimmer of hope as we begin a week destined to be full of even more bleak news.
What are your impressions and memories of the last show at Timucua before everything closed?
The last show was by jazz vocalist Kristina Koller. We had been receiving hourly cancellations by upcoming artists, but hadn’t completely closed our doors. There were maybe 10 people at the show, and the band played their butts off. There were also two ASL interpreters signing the show, and I remember being relieved that we got it recorded because we have plans for many more ASL-interpreted shows that are now sort on hold.
How long, as of this particular moment, is current live programming at Timucua and the In-Between Series suspended?
We have been reassessing on a daily basis, but at this point Timucua is closed to audiences through the end of May. In all likelihood, this will stretch on longer than that.
Tell me about some of the initiatives you're launching to support and amplify the local arts community in the meantime?
Timucua has been doing live-streamed concerts for years, but now we are adding daily rebroadcasts of standout concerts from our archive. We will be scheduling some "live in studio" performances for local artists. During all of these events, donations made will support the performers. I encourage every musician in Central Florida who has digital music for sale to post in the Digital Music Flea Market. There is a lot of empathy right now for musicians and performers who are out of work, and artists should be working quickly to make up whatever lost income they can. We will also be working with other local arts organizations to help them with live-streamed fundraising events.
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