Westcott House to become stage for live virtual performance

Credit: JustinNunnink

Credit: JustinNunnink

A pop-up virtual concert is on the radar to begin the weekend. Singer/songwriter Zoe Boekbinder will perform live at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18 from one of the most unique and unconventional concert sites in Springfield – the Westcott House.

The show is presented by the Westcott House in partnership with the Springfield Arts Council, Young Professionals of Greater Springfield and Hatch New Media, and can be viewed by live stream at the Facebook pages of the first three groups.

At the beginning of 2020, Westcott House executive director Marta Wojcik planned to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the house’s restoration with several celebration events, which the pandemic prevented.

She’s since had success with several virtual programs. Boekbinder previously performed at the Westcott House in 2011, and knowing she’d be playing elsewhere in Ohio this week, she offered up her time and talent to Wojcik, lending the show its pop-up theme since it came together within the span of days.

“We love this artist and hadn’t had anything planned to celebrate our 15th and since she’s fond of the venue we thought we’d take her up on it,” Wojcik said.

Based in New Orleans, Boekbinder has put out several albums and collaborated with notable artists including Ani DiFranco, who produced her newest album released in June 2020, “Long Time Gone: The Prison Music Project,” composed of music and lyrics written and inspired by present and former inmates at New Folsom, a California maximum-security prison.

Boekbinder volunteered as a performer and teacher at the prison and co-founded the Prison Music Project. One of Johnny Cash’s biggest albums was recorded at the same prison in the 1960s, so the pedigree was there.

The album took a decade to get made and its profits will go to prisoners' rights groups.

Wojcik met Boekbinder by chance, hearing her perform while at a conference in New Orleans. Given Boekbinder is only doing outdoor performances at this time, it works out for her, the Westcott House and local music fans.

“People are hungry for shows like this and it’s nice to see artists are being asked to perform again,” Wojcik said. “Artists were also hit hard by the pandemic.”

Springfield Arts Council executive director Tim Rowe is also pleased to keep live entertainment coming to the area through this collaboration.

“As we continue to struggle with how to present within the current restrictions, we are happy to assist the Wescott House to present to the Arts Council’s audience,” he said.

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