Five-piece band The Boom Booms hit the stage at Massey Theatre in New Westminster on Friday, Oct. 16, for the first of four concerts over two nights. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Five-piece band The Boom Booms hit the stage at Massey Theatre in New Westminster on Friday, Oct. 16, for the first of four concerts over two nights. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

LIVE MUSIC

Concerts return to New West theatre, with Bill Henderson and Chantal Kreviazuk booked

The Boom Booms opened the series with 50-capacity performance

Concerts have returned to New Westminster’s Massey Theatre, where B.C.’s COVID-19 rules mean just 50 people can enjoy a performance in the 1,260-seat theatre.

A series-kickoff show was performed Friday (Oct. 16) by Vancouver-based band The Boom Booms, with seats going for close to $60 a ticket. The band was booked for four performances over two nights.

With spectators well spread out in the theatre, in different rows, there was more than enough physical distancing to make the concert feel as safe as advertised, although cavernous doesn’t begin to describe the experience in a near-empty theatre.

“I think it was kind of surreal – I’m not sure if you felt that way or not,” Jessica Schneider, executive director of Massey Theatre, said on Monday (Oct. 19).

“I went Saturday and it’s just unusual, but I think it’s really important, all in all,” she added. “It’s just all so strange with the structure and feel. Given that the venue is really safe, we just have to maintain that option and we also have to give artists a chance to perform. They really, really need that. I think the casualties we might see amongst artists, people just not being able to figure out how to go back to it, I just feel like we keep needing to wave a flag for them, you know.”

Next musician in the series is Chantal Kreviazuk, who will perform nightly from Oct. 28 to 31, followed by solo concerts by Chilliwack’s Bill Henderson from Nov. 26 to 29. Visit masseytheatre.com for details, or call 604-521-5050.

(Story continues below tweet)

For the groovy soul-funk of The Boom Booms, close to three dozen ticketholders were in the Massey for the concert at 7 p.m. Friday.

“It’s a very complicated and diverse structure with this,” Schneider reported. “We are an organization that has some programming funding to support artists and audiences, and also a subsidized venue and then also the wage subsidy to allow us to have our staff there, so when you combine those three things we don’t have to make a profit, otherwise none of this would have happened.”

The next step is to liquor-license the concerts, she added.

“And we’ll see how it goes too, and we’re working through that,” Schneider said. “We’ll add more staff to manage that, but it’s all nothing like we’ve had in place. The whole experience had to be tweaked.”

She said a lot of Vancouver-area concert venues are closed and not ready to reopen, so the Massey experience is a bit of a trial for local live music at the moment.

“It’s quite complicated to reopen like we have,” Schneider revealed. “It’s fine but no, it’s not sustainable. We need some shows to make a profit, to balance that off.

“It’s a calculated venture, with a purpose,” she added. “I’m hoping that we can do enough activity where people prepare for when it’s possible again to have more arts, more concerts, it’s going to be that much easier for everyone to get started as well. You know as much as I don’t really want these (concerts) to be limited to 50 (people), it’s actually really good practice for our staff.”

Theatre management will conduct a review of the concert series over the next couple of weeks, to see where things go next.

“We’re not going to stop, but we’re not racing into it either,” Schneider said. “We want to get more feedback from people as well, and what we got over the weekend was all positive, everybody saying thank goodness there’s some live music to hear. I think it was really great from that perspective. So what’s the next step to try. And if in March that means a bigger number, then these concerts will be really valuable to go to the next step – maybe at that time we can have rentals again and maybe be up to 200 capacity or something.”

Tickets for Henderson’s concert at the Massey are $55 plus service charges, and a ticket to see Kreviazuk is priced at $57, plus charges.

Kreviazuk released her eighth studio album, Get To You, over the summer.

She says it was an easy choice to proceed with the release of an album during a global pandemic.

“The wonderful thing about music is that it is always welcomed and needed,” Kreviazuk said in a news release announcing her Massey concert. “In times of crisis, it offers solace and comfort. Without question, now is the time to release music.”

Ticketholdes are encouraged to wear masks for shows in the Massey series.

Also, a ticket purchase comes with this warning: “That by attending the performance you, and the members of your party, hereby assume the risk of possible exposure to and illness from infectious or communicable viruses and diseases, including but not limited to COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Ebola, and Influenza (collectively, ‘Transmittable Diseases’), incurred or sustained in connection with their attendance at the Theatre. You knowingly and freely assume all such risks, both known and unknown, for yourself and any guests even if arising from the negligence of the City or others. Further, you agree to comply with all applicable municipal, Provincial, and/or Federal regulations, guidelines, orders, directives or rules, as may relate to minimizing the risk of transmission of any Transmittable Diseases, and agree to inform and make this information available to any parties coming to the Facility.”

Meantime, Vancouver Chamber Music Society has announced a performance by Koerner Piano Trio at Anvil Centre in New Westminster on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 via vancouverchambermusic.com.

“Vancouver Academy of Music’s first chamber ensemble in residency makes their VCMS debut with gripping performances of Mozart, Smetana, and Turina,” says an event advisory. “Written amidst a series of tragedies, Smetana’s trio will ease the fears and uncertainties in our community with the unexpected joy and optimism in its conclusion. Expect a concert program that is filled with passion, melody, and virtuosity to keep the listener firmly on the edge of their seat.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

ConcertsMusic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Police Service cruiser. (File photo)
Surrey Police Service, CUPE sign staff transfer agreement from RCMP to new force

Chief Constable says there will be ‘no disruption’ to police service during transfer

SkyTrain running through Whalley. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Mayors’ Council wants feds to fund Surrey-Langley SkyTrain in upcoming budget

Mayors’ Council on regional transportation sent letter to federal government Monday

Spring Break kits available for free at Surrey Libraries branches. (submitted photo)
Free ‘Spring Break Kits’ for kids at Surrey Libraries

Children don’t need a library card to get a kit, but can sign up for one for free

Premier John Horgan with drawings of replacement bridge for the Pattullo during a February 2018 presser. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey city staff want to act on council’s behalf for ‘minor’ changes to new Pattullo

The old bridge’s replacement is expected to be open for traffic in the fall of 2023

South Surrey’s Historic Stewart Farm. (City of Surrey photo)
City receives $400K grant to build Indigenous Carving Centre in South Surrey

Construction of showcase venue to be completed mid-2022

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Most Read