Music was the first industry to shut down when the pandemic hit in 2020 — and it’s been one of the last to come back.
Gigs have returned slowly for professional musicians since the restrictions eased; however, many venues in Metro Vancouver have closed over the past three years, making it harder for performers to make a living and connect with crowds.
Still, there’s a cool trend happening in the music scene lately, says award-winning soul singer Dawn Pemberton, who will play in Port Moody this month.
Music lovers are opening their homes for shows in their living rooms and promoters are finding unique spaces for intimate concerts.
In Port Moody, for example, veteran musicians Bill Sample and Darlene Cooper started a music series last September to bring top names into the community, performing in amenities rooms in condo buildings, as well as at the Inlet Theatre.
“It’s encouraging,” Pemberton told the Tri-City News on Friday (March 17).
“People are taking the initiative to create more spaces for us to play. There’s a mutual appreciation by the musicians and by the audience.”
For her March 31 show at the Inlet Theatre, Pemberton will be with a four-piece band — Derek DiFilippo (bass); Gavin Youngash (guitar); Jonny Tobin (keyboard); and Paul Clark (drums) — to play her original and re-arranged cover hits, but she declined to name the tunes.
“I always like to keep things a bit of a surprise,” she said.
She’s grateful to Sample and Cooper, whom Pemberton met via the Marcus Mosely Ensemble, for reaching out to keep local music alive “because it gives people access to artists that they might not have access to. They’re making things in their own hometown and I’m proud they’ve stepped up.”
For 2023, Pemberton, who typically has hundreds of dates booked a year, has some big projects in the works.
In June, she starts a two-month run with the Arts Club Theatre for the production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage in Vancouver (Pemberton is cast as a Shirell).
And, in September, she appears with Jean Cianca on Cortes Island to offer a musical program about pilgrimages.
Pemberton also has a few Vancouver gigs with the Good Noise Gospel Choir. In January, the Roots N Wings Choir, of which she is the director, also entertained at a Vancouver church.
Tickets to see Dawn Pemberton on March 31 in Port Moody are $30 in advance and $40 at the door of the Inlet Theatre (100 Newport Dr., Port Moody). For more details, visit portmoodymusic.com or Eventbrite.ca. The concert is sponsored by Pacific Coast Terminals. The last show in the inaugural series is the Vince Mai Quintet (jazz, Latin jazz) on May 6.