The devastating impacts of COVID-19 have strongly hit the arts and music community throughout the country and right here at home. Amador County Arts Council has a heavy heart as it fondly remembers 2017 TGIF musician Russ Abraham who played with Debbie Wolfe & Halfmoon Highway at Mollie Joyce Park in Pioneer. Russ was a beloved music educator and musician in Fair Oaks who passed away from COVID-19 in April.
Amador County Arts Council takes public safety seriously. As we assess the government’s plan for reopening, we realize that large gatherings will not be permitted for quite some time.
In fact, according to Amador County Public Health, “It will be a minimum of 4 weeks before Amador County and the State have enough data from Stage 2 reopening to consider a move into early Stage 3. Early Stage 3 will not allow for large gatherings of persons, but will rather be focused on getting personal services that require close, hands-on contact to resume with safety precautions in place. Concerts in the park would be in the Stage 4 category, not safe to resume until community immunity or a vaccine is widely available.”
Thus, after 22 years of free concerts in the parks, the TGIF stage will be dark this summer. Meghan O’Keefe, Executive Director of the Amador County Arts Council, reports, “I am currently in discussions with several community partners to determine how we can continue to provide lifelong arts learning including music appreciation. And I won’t give up!” O’Keefe says with a smile.
The summer tradition of TGIF free concerts was the first of its kind 22 years ago. Back in 1998, Shenandoah Valley was not the bustling wine industry we know today; Amador did not have the kind of venues we enjoy today. In addition to making music free and accessible, from Ione to Pioneer, these concerts have brought much needed community connection to thousands of citizens, the majority of whom are seniors, many living in the isolated regions of Amador County.
As we navigate this economic and health crisis, Amador County Arts Council is committed to ensuring that lifelong arts learning continues, especially for all public school students. TGIF free concerts raise important funds that help us provide free arts education in the schools. Please become a donor today so that we can continue to provide arts education while our community recovers from the longterm impacts of COVID-19. Online donations are accepted at . Checks can be mailed to PO Box 206, Sutter Creek CA 95685. We need you to help us save arts. education! And we’ll see you as soon as we can for free, in-person music and arts of all kinds.