I can’t believe it’s October of 2020 as I’m writing this. I’m sure you are all asking the same question I’m asking — where has this year gone? It’s honestly not the best turn of phrase, as many of us know where this year has gone, but the passage of time has been so odd these past several months. But back to the main question at hand, what have I and American Songline been up to this year? Surprisingly, it’s been much more interesting than I thought!
What I’ve Been Up To This Year
Prior to lockdown in mid-March, I was extremely busy and having an amazing year. Typically, my performance and touring season runs from May-November, but this year my calendar was booked from February-November. You can even read about it in this article that was published on March 10th by ArchivesAWARE. I had performed my Women’s Suffrage program a couple of times, and I had presented at two living history conferences talking about suffrage music and the Lincoln Highway. I was in Illinois in mid-March, and it was very tense flying home to Portland as there were concerns the airports could shut down and I’d be stranded there.
Some concerts were immediately cancelled while I was on the road, while other cancellations trickled in over the weeks. I got some postponements to 2021, and some organizations asked if I had recorded suffrage music they could use for their own virtual events, which was pretty cool. Like you, it was a lot of waiting to see how things would evolve in the coming weeks.
But then I couldn’t wait anymore. Finally, a suffrage performance in August that had been booked in 2018 had decided we would go ahead and do it as a virtual concert for their patrons. As a person who prides themselves on being as authentic as possible, it was tough to wrap my head around conveying historic music to any empty room and through a camera lens. The final verdict – it WORKED! Over 15 US states and two countries attended my very first virtual concert. It was a different experience for both me and the audience to be sure, but I could perform this music and do it justice in a virtual setting.
That one performance also opened up doors for me to think about my work in the world, and how I could perform outside of in-person concerts or presentations. ArchivesAWARE! asked me back to reflect on my performances six months later, and I shared how I envision my work with American Songline in this recent post. Given that it will take time for me to perform in front of live audiences again, people are yearning for quality entertainment, and budgets for many places will be limited, I am offering options that would work for many places and people all over the world.
The one thing I want to share with you all is that the Women’s Suffrage program will not disappear when 2020 is over. I’ve worked too long and hard on this program to not have it be heard, and the stories and songs of these women need to be shared. Susan B. Anthony’s birthday is still celebrated every year, Women’s History Month will be just as important in the coming years, and as long as voting rights are debated in the US, I feel it’s important that this concert is a resource for people. So it is my hope that I can and will perform this music next year (currently taking bookings for both 2021 and 2022) and beyond.
How Can One Support a Touring Musician Like Me During This Time?
People have been asking me how they can support me during this intense time in our world, and there are several options, some of which don’t cost a cent but help me get seen. Consider doing these for other independent musicians you follow too!
- Join my Patreon Community. I do special events and behind-the-scenes updates for all Patrons, and Patrons also get first access to new music, including the Prohibition program I’m currently working on.
- Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. I’ll be releasing more videos of concert footage that’s never been seen, and this is the main platform I’ll use when I livestream concerts, AMA events (Ask Me Anything), and more.
- Subscribe to my email list at the bottom of this page. As people grow weary of social media, I’m going back to connecting with people via email. The newsletters will come twice a month, and I plan on sharing both historic and music updates.
- Follow my Facebook and Instagram pages. I won’t totally jump ship on these platforms and will share updates there, but people on my email list, Patreon and YouTube pages will see them first.
- Write a positive review on my Facebook page or for my merchandise on iTunes, Amazon or CD Baby, as this helps drive my visibility up and new people can find me. The big “ask” I have for you is that when you write these reviews, pretend like you don’t know me personally (i.e. “the author does a great job of” or “Cecelia’s shows are…”). Don’t use any of these sites? Send me a written or video testimonial instead.
- Last but not least, consider making a general donation or buying books and CDs from me as holiday gifts for others or yourself. You can buy them via Amazon, CD Baby/various websites, or you can buy them directly from me. There are books and CDs for the Lincoln Highway, World War One, and Suffrage programs still available. I will no longer be carrying all of my merchandise with me when I’m touring in the future, so if you want any of those items this is your best way to get them.
No matter where you are reading this, I hope you are safe and well and I hope you continue to stay healthy. Please say hi, ask questions, and comment below!