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Local musicians adapt to closed venues

As some businesses remain closed and all having to adhere to social-distancing guideline, musicians are finding other avenues to perform.

Local band, The Boys, have not had the opportunity to perform live due to COVID-19 restrictions but singer/songwriter Adam Klett said he is ready to get back to the stage. (Submitted photo)
Local band, The Boys, have not had the opportunity to perform live due to COVID-19 restrictions but singer/songwriter Adam Klett said he is ready to get back to the stage. (Submitted photo)

With venues closed and patrons choosing to shelter in place many local musicians are without a place to perform. For some, it’s a welcomed break from a hectic schedule. For others, it’s an opportunity to work on other skills.

Adam Klett, singer/songwriter for The Boys said the four members from Wayland, Sigourney, Knoxville and Salem typically play all over the tri-state area every weekend.

“If I can make it there within two to two-and-a-half hours from my job on a Saturday, we’ll go,” he said.

Now that the band is not traveling, Klett said he has a lot more personal time on his hands.

“I sleep a lot more,” he said with a laugh. “I think I’m the only one who works on Saturdays so I think that’s been the positive for me. I don’t go to work on Saturday and get on my feet that night.”

Although the break is welcome, he still misses being able to perform in front of a live audience.

“It’s completely different,” he said of trying to do live concerts on Facebook live. “There’s something else completely when there’s a crowd and they’re dancing and signing along.”

Ryne Doughty, a full-time musician originally from Washington but based out of Des Moines, said he has found success in livestreaming shows.

“With the help of technology, and doing livestreamed shows, I’ve still been able to connect with the audience, and I’ve been amazed at the generosity of the people who tune in and leave virtual tips. That has been extremely helpful and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to still play for people. I was skeptical at first, but they have really proven to be a medium that can bring people together and I can still feel the energy even though I’m playing alone in my house,” he said.

In the Des Moines area where he performs, there is a vibrant music scene, he said. Not being able to get out and experience the crowds is something he misses, but has gotten some of the feeling back with livestreamed videos.

Other musicians like Werner Elmker, of Fairfield, have also reported being active and adapting to the new constraints.

“I’ve been surprisingly busy since the COVID-19 quarantine started,” he said.

With his main source of income stemming from video production, Elmker said he has been able to start a number of free lance projects and create music videos. Being an active musician at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center, he has even found a way to keep performing in his preferred venue.

With a piano concert lined up, Elmker nearly had to cancel due to COVID-19 but instead asked staff if he could livestream the concert instead. They agreed and every Thursday at 7 p.m. a live concert is available on the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center Facebook and YouTube pages featuring different musicians from the area.

Although the experience is not the same as having an audience, Elmker said livestreaming is the next best thing.

“It’s very important for a performer to have a live audience. It’s a very different thing than being alone with a microphone,” he said.

However, there is a silver lining to it all, Doughty said. his shows scheduled for Washington in the fall are still on and being able to connect more with music and family has been a welcomed change.

“It’s been nice to just focus on writing and practicing; really exploring new ideas and concepts. When it’s business as usual, it’s four to five shows a week and less time for exploring new things,” he said. “This, along with being on the road less, and being with my family more, has been one of the silver linings to this whole pandemic, for me personally.”