CALGARY — Curbside Concerts launched during Alberta’s first wave of pandemic-lockdown offering employment to professional musicians — and now the local company is offering Christmas music to small audiences.
Performers bring portable sound equipment and provide entertainment to a household, typically from the roadside or driveway, hence the company name.
“It’s been so overwhelming that people are truly craving some connection and if that’s done through Christmas carolling at a safe social distance, then that’s the job that I’m going to do,” said Michela Sheedy.
The professional singer/songwriter — and anthem singer for the Calgary Flames — has performed dozens of these small, commissioned gigs and says the holiday music spread a special kind of magic.
“I’ll sing in minus-30 if you want me to,” said Sheedy.
Since April, the company has expanded to nine other regions in Canada with more than 50 musicians on the roster.
The company was founded by Calgary’s Matt Masters and is owned by his wife, Amanda Burgener, who is of Indigenous descent.
The couple says the company offers benefits for both the households that make the bookings and the artists whose gigs dried up under public health restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Owning a small business is of course very challenging and we are excited to see some growth and reaching out to the communities and supporting musicians and artists at the same time,” said Burgener.
“People love Christmas songs, there’s so many of them that are great, we can’t hear them in the churches the way we would, we can’t hear them carolling the way we would, so instead stay at home, stay on your property and let a curbside musician bring Christmas music safely to you,” said Masters.
The booking fee starts at $300 for a half-hour set and many song selections are by request — with an emphasis on the holidays through to January.
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