Performing arts livestreaming platform raises money for local musicians

Thomas Thomas and his Bozeman Arts-Live! crew set up cameras at the First Presbyterian Church in Bozeman for their Baroque Music Montana: Youthful Splendor event.

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Online livestreaming platform "Bozeman Arts-Live!" started during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to feature local artists performing music.

Thomas Thomas tried taking a break from playing the piano but found himself starting an online livestreaming platform to give local musicians a virtual stage.

"I thought for a brief moment that I would just take a break, you know there’s books I like to read, and that lasted about 10 minutes," Thomas explained. “All of our concerts got cancelled essentially, it was actually a cool moment for me because it was a moment of expressive desire."

This week, Thomas and his crew will host an event with Baroque Music Montana: Youthful Splendor highlighting high school soloists on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. on their online streaming platform.

They set up several cameras at the First Presbyterian Church in Bozeman to get all angles of the performances that not even a live audience would see.

Thomas estimated that at the beginning of the pandemic they were close to 13,000 fans and viewers of their livestream events and have an online tip jar that goes either straight to the artists or to a charity of their choice.

In 2020, Bozeman Arts-Live! raised $12,500 straight to local musicians.

Thomas said the biggest surprise for them was all of the places they can host a performance and the different emotions and they can bring to an online audience.

“You can have awesome music in any space, and they have different sounds so it’s the sound of Bozeman’s spaces that’s been delightful, and it just has a little bit of a different feel to it, it’s almost the calm before the storm there’s an energy with the audience and so in this case it feels very calm as you’re recording and that has its own charms," Thomas explained.

On Feb. 19 they will host the Montana Endurance Academy Adventure Film Festival and are working with Nnamdi Kanaga on a film for Feb. 26 with Montana State University for Black History Month.

More information on Bozeman Arts-Live! can be found here.

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