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Savannah Voice Festival Goes Virtual

Offers new segment, special guest
Updated: Jun. 5, 2020 at 2:41 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah Voice Festival will be completely virtual this year, but organizers promise to keep providing entertaining shows as well as some special guests.

Executive Director and Co-Founder Maria Zouves felt she had no choice but to make the festival completely digital, especially after a number of studies indicated that singers are at a higher risk of contracting the Coronavirus.

“As I likened it to a singer, it’s kind of graphic, but what we do is red meat to COVID," Zouves said. "Even in terms of how we do it. We do it close to each other. We are replicating intimate situations on a stage. We are asking people to gather intimately in a space.”

Zouves feels confident in the success of an entirely digital festival after their "Virtually Live" series in May, which she calls their Beta test.

“Doing it completely live is exciting. There’s an element that things can go wrong. Things do go wrong," Zouves said. "So we wanted to ensure that we could keep the sound quality the same, that, you know, the lighting was good. We want to be creative.”

While you can expect a professional quality production, you won't spot any attempts to mask or change the unique setting.

“It’s going to be very intimate, homespun, kind of replicating where the singers are at this moment, which is at home,” Zouves said.

Vocalists will also still receive the education that defines the mission of the SVF, just virtually. That means you'll have a new opportunity to see their creative process.

“Our little segment that we’re going to be doing in every show called ‘Inside the Voice Studio’ is going to give them the back story. It’s going to interview a lot of artists that have been part of the studio. It’s going to show them singing. It’s going to interview some of the educators and show some of those moments of, ‘Aha. This is who I am as an artist,’” Zouves said. "A lot of our audience loves the backstory.”

You'll also be introduced to a new musician by the name of Van Johnson. Savannah's mayor will make a cameo.

“I think he got excited as most artists do. I think there’s an artists heart in the leadership he offers our community," Zouves said. "When I told him our theme that it’s ‘Art Matters: We Have A VOICE,’ he immediately jumped in and said, ‘Because people matter.’”

Zouves ultimately hopes that the festival and its new theme inspire people to support artists during a time when they need it most.

“I see so much possibility of the fabric of art changing where we’re going to lose so many art institutions," Zouves said. 'We’re going to lose artists because of the financial devastation, and so it’s very important for us to keep to the messaging that we’re here for you, and be here for us.”

The Savannah Voice Festival will run from August 8 through August 22.

You can find a full schedule of events here.

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