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Sudbury Performance Group celebrates over three years of continuous live music

Sudbury Performance Group supported local musicians throughout the pandemic
Edouard Landry

Hosting live events became a challenge during the pandemic, but despite that, Sudbury Performance Group continued to host music concerts, and employ local musicians, throughout.

While SPG had to stop most of their regular programming, the exception was their livestreamed music performances, meaning to date, the group has hosted over three years of continual performances (both live and hybrid), keeping audience and community morale up, while providing paid opportunities for local musicians.

“We started doing the weekly live stream concerts once the pandemic started, and when everything else in the world shut down that was the start of our weekly concerts for us and it’s been going straight since then,” said Mark Mannisto, president and founder of Sudbury Performance Group (SPG),

From hosting livestreams to in-person and back again following whatever public restrictions they were faced with, Mannisto said SPG kept moving forward, and what began as one livestream show per week has evolved to now hosting three live concerts per week.

“When we look at the number of artists that we’ve featured over the past 160 or so weeks, if we’re saying we started hosting three shows per week within the past three years, that’s 375 individual concerts featuring Canadian artists, the majority are directly from our hometown, so the amount of music artists that we’ve employed is absolutely staggering.”

And the variety of musicians are equally so. From local and provincial to internationally recognized talent, Mannisto said the musical artists they employ for Sudbury audiences are professional and diverse, ensuring content with something for everyone to enjoy.

“We’ve provided live music opportunities all across the city and we’ve been doing shows that focus on female musical talent, we’ve have done shows highlighting Francophone artists, we’ve really been stretching our wings over the past while with our music events,” he said.

Local Sudbury musician grateful to be able to share her passion during such uncertain times

For local musician, Tessa Balaz, having regular paid working opportunities from SPG has helped her in several ways. Like so many artists, the pandemic hit them hard, as the closure of venues and lockdowns meant there was a lack of opportunity to work, affecting their livelihood.

Thankfully, SPG has been constant in offering musicians paid opportunities, and not just during the pandemic, but consistently, with no signs of slowing down. Balaz said SPG is doing a huge service to Sudbury’s artists as they ensure local musicians are given consistent opportunities, are paid fairly, and treated respectfully by venues.

“Knowing there’s regular work for us after the gruelling pandemic is helpful, not only financially, but our mental health is so much better,” she said. “I am a mom now so it’s a comfort knowing I don’t have to give up my artist career since Sudbury has so many more paid opportunities thanks to initiatives like these from SPG.”

Live music events also support local businesses and arts venues, bringing music to Greater Sudbury

The return of live music events means that a wider variety of Greater Sudbury area establishments and venues can host SPG’s events. Mannisto explains that while they frequent the Trevi Bar & Grill, The Coulson Entertainment Centre, Hilton Garden Inn, and universities, they’re always looking to expand their reach.

“We want to expand our venues because we want to be able to make live music accessible for everybody in different locations to attend from different parts of Sudbury as well as the outskirts of town,” he said.

This means they can also support the greater communities in Sudbury, giving them an opportunity to gather, enjoy a night out, as well as be entertained by local professional and international music artists.

“The majority of who we support are the local artists because they’re who create the colour for our city, so we want to be able to support them first and foremost, but at the same time we want to be able to bring in larger names to Sudbury,” he said.

Coming up on December 8, SPG is welcoming Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida who are performing at the College Boreal as part of their ‘Forgive Me Tour.’

Sudbury Performance Group posts details about upcoming concert events each week on their Facebook page.

You can also call them at 705-662-8518 or e mail with any question you may have.