While theater is dark, Holmes will offer live online concerts and workshops

Holmes Theatre Closed.JPG
The parking lot outside Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre was empty late Thursday afternoon, March 19, as the theater is closed to the public due to public health concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. All concerts and public events at the theater have been canceled or postponed until April 27, but Executive Director Amy Stoller Stearns has begun to pursue virtual options for arts events, the first of which will be a "Live From the Holmes" concert on Tuesday, March 24 featuring Tim Eggebraaten, to be broadcast on local radio and public access television. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

With all concerts, live events and activities at the Historic Holmes Theatre on hold until at least Friday, April 24, Executive Director Amy Stoller Stearns has come up with a way to continue to bring the arts to the lakes area during the COVID-19 outbreak: Virtual concerts.

"We've had to cancel or postpone about 15 concerts and events, and I was trying to figure out what we can still do to share music with people locally," Stearns said.

When she began seeing several news articles and social media posts about "a lot of great arts organizations offering live streaming of various performances on a national and worldwide basis," she contemplated whether or not the idea might be adapted for local use.

"So I reached out to Tim Eggebraaten and asked if he would ever consider doing a virtual concert," she said.

The response was, "Yes, absolutely." She then contacted Jeff Leighton at Leighton Broadcasting and asked if he would be interested in offering a live concert broadcast on both KDLM Radio and TV-3 (the local public access station).


"He said yes, immediately," she added, so they began to formulate a plan for hosting a "Live From the Holmes" concert on Tuesday, March 24. As a special treat for listeners, she added, Eggebraaten has offered to take song requests — but because there will be no live audience for the concert, those requests must be submitted by email at before 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Though plans are still being formalized, Stearns said the concert would be made available for public viewing and/or listening on the same day, with about an hour's delay between the live event and the broadcast. She hopes to plan more "Live From the Holmes" concerts and events over the course of the next month and a half, while the theater is on enforced hiatus.

"Our staff will be on greatly reduced hours after this Friday (March 20)," Stearns said, and she herself will be on a limited work schedule as well. But she added that any artist who might be interested in signing up for a virtual concert in the next few weeks should contact her via the same email address listed above.

Because the concerts will be presented via a public broadcast, with no live audience, the Holmes will not be able to charge an admission fee of any kind. In order to be able to pay the musicians for their time, Stearns said, "We’re working on a way to offer an online link for donations."

She urged the public to keep checking the theater's Facebook page and website for updates on future online/broadcast offerings as well as when the theater will be open for business once again.

Poetry workshop will also be made available online

Concerts aren't the only arts activity for which the theater is looking at virtual options. Local poet Kendra Gilsdorf, who has a page on Instagram called @whenshewalkedpoetry , and had planned to do a four-week poetry workshop on Saturdays in April at the Holmes Art Cellar called "Poe-TRY," will now be offering the class online.

"We're still looking at who will be hosting it, whether it's Zoom or some other platform," said Stearns, but there is a link up at the Holmes Theatre website , for those who would like to sign up. The cost is $25 for all four sessions.

'Live From the Holmes"

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