Eugene Smith is kicking off a new series of streaming performances from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre stage on Friday, May 21, 2021. (Ashley Foot photo)

Eugene Smith is kicking off a new series of streaming performances from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre stage on Friday, May 21, 2021. (Ashley Foot photo)

Eugene Smith streaming live Friday from Duncan

Smith was discovered in the ’60s by Rompin’Ronnie Hawkins and hired as a singer

By Ashley Foot

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to restrict in-person gatherings, the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre is launching a new series of live-streamed performances from their stage, starting with roots and blues singer Eugene Smith on Friday, May 21, at 7:30 pm.

“Connecting Cowichan region audiences with local artists has been a wonderful opportunity that has emerged during these difficult times,” says CPAC manager Kirsten Schrader, who is also the manager of the CVRD Arts and Culture Division. “Eugene Smith is a national treasure that lives right here in our region and audiences were already fascinated to hear about his amazing life as featured on our podcast for Black History Month.”

A familiar sight around Duncan with his trademark waist-length white dreadlocks, Smith was discovered in the ’60s by Rompin’Ronnie Hawkins and hired as a singer. He enjoyed five years of great success as a soloist and backup singer with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, touring extensively throughout Canada and the United States. Later his band, Eugene Smith and the Warm-Up Band, shared the stage with exceptional musical talent as The Beach Boys, B.B. King, King Curtis, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, k.d. lang, and Bo Diddley, to name just a few.

The Cowichan Performing Arts Centre’s live streaming equipment is available for rent by local groups and organizations and includes the technical staff required and a wide array of distribution and marketing services to help organizations present a professional, high-quality live stream. A recent live-streamed concert of local band Cabin Fever, which was produced and presented by CPAC, had an unprecedented 10,000 views and helped the band find an all-new audience.

“Live streaming is an incredible way for local organizations to connect with and find new audiences in today’s challenging world,” continues Schrader. “While you may think that presenting your content on Zoom or YouTube is easily done at home, the difference between using professional cameras and sound operated by trained technicians is enormous and will lead to delighted audiences and increased engagement.”

CPAC uses remote-controlled 360-degree cameras that allow the team to get up close to the artists without compromising COVID-19 safety measures. A full complement of professional sound equipment is also used to offer crystal clear audio for audiences at home.

You can watch examples of CPAC’s live streaming, view details on the equipment used, and find out how your event can be streamed by going to bit.ly/cpaclivestreaming

Other concerts can be streamed online at cowichanpac.ca and on the CPAC’s Facebook, Youtube, and Vimeo pages. Interested groups or individuals should contact Schrader by email at kirsten.schrader@cvrd.bc.ca

Music