Piqua Arts Council’s Musicians’ Benefit Concerts named finalist for award

PIQUA — As a way to help musicians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Piqua Arts Council produced a series of video concerts that have been used as a vehicle to support the musicians of Miami and Montgomery Counties in Ohio — the Musicians’ Benefit Concerts.

The participating bands in this program were ReFlektion, Jamie Suttle, The Fries Band, Zack Attack!, Brother Believe Me, and The Kid and The Riff Raff. This project is designed to directly help the musicians of Miami and Montgomery Counties recoup some of the money from lost gigs during the pandemic. Utilizing the videos as a way for sponsors to get advertising opportunities, the project is targeting a goal of $100,000 that will be given back to musicians.

“As the pandemic started, the arts were hit hard,” Piqua Arts Council Executive Director Jordan Knepper said. “Unemployment in the arts reached more than 25% and still hovers over 14%. As I watched friends of the Arts Council’s performances being cancelled everywhere, it helped me realize the impact this was going to have on the musicians. I made a few calls and quickly established that more than $50,000 in entertainment budgets in Miami County alone, wasn’t being spent by nonprofits in 2020. We made the decision to add Montgomery County in and double that number to $100,000 as a goal to raise to support musicians for their cancelled contracts.”

On Monday, Oct. 18, Piqua Arts Council’s Musicians’ Benefit Concerts program was notified that they were a finalist for the Best Initiative to Directly Support Musicians Award. This award is presented by Music Cities Events, an organization that plans the biggest international conferences on the topic of music cities, music policy and music tourism. They produce the leading international awards ceremony on music cities — the Music Cities Awards, and run the Music Cities Community. Music Cities Events aims to educate on the value of music, and showcase the best uses of music by individuals, organizations and cities all over the world.

A global competition, The Music Cities Awards is designed to acknowledge and reward the most outstanding applications of music for economic, social, environmental and cultural development in cities and places all around the world. The awards also aim to promote best practice and demonstrate the value of music to the world. There are a total of 10 Music Cities Awards spanning small to large city initiatives, tourism, sustainability, music offices and professionals, real estate and the night time economy. Two new categories were added to this year’s edition in order to acknowledge the best uses of music to support diversity and inclusion, and to reward the best innovation to support musicians or music in cities.

“It’s great to be included with these other organizations from across the world,” Knepper said. “We feel honored that our initiative would make the top three in this global competition. Musicians are often the first to step up to help out with other groups’ fundraisers and yet when the pandemic hit, few people were thinking about them. Our goal is to help compensate them for the lost revenue, so we can get them back in the studio recording new music or covering the other expenses that come with being a musician.”

The Music Cities Awards Ceremony will be taking place virtually on Nov. 9 and will feature a 25-minute panel discussion for each award, with the live winner announcement at the end of the talk. The ceremony is free to attend, and the schedule will be released soon. Recorded videos will then be added to the Music Cities Community by the end of November. Anyone interested in registering for the Live Virtual 2021 Music Cities Awards Ceremony can visit https://www.musiccitiesevents.com/awards.

“Taking part in the panel and sharing our story with other attendees from all over the planet is really an amazing opportunity,” said Knepper. “We’re really looking forward to helping musicians out and making this an impactful experience for them on their careers.”

Piqua Arts Council would like to acknowledge the organizations that helped make producing the concert videos possible, the Ohio Arts Council, Neils & Ruth Lundgard Charitable Trust and the Piqua Community Foundation. Without their support the project wouldn’t have even gotten off the ground. Additional sponsorships for the benefit fund were provided by Dayton Power and Light Foundation, Dale Zink Meats & Family, Gordon & DeSantis Orthodontics, Greenville National Bank, The Beagle Investment Group LLC, Excellence in Dentistry, and Alvetro Orthodontics. Private donations were given by Thomas & Angela Younce, Mike McCorkle, Joy Rudloff, Brady Karns, Laura Price, James Jordan, Dede Wissman, Evelyn Mahrt, Melody Miller, and Jane Hart.

For more information about the Musicians’ Benefit Concerts, visit the Piqua Arts Council’s webpage at https://piquaartscouncil.org/musicians-benefit-concert. For more information about the Music Cities Awards, visit https://www.musiccitiesevents.com/awards.