The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, May. 30, 2023

Television’s influence on live music

I have said many times in this column that I believe live music is always better. I still hold to that premise, but I also realize that television has become an even bigger influence on live music today.

In the early days of television, variety shows were very prominent.  Some of the more mature readers may recall shows in the 1950s through 1970s like Red Skelton, with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra; “The Jackie Gleason Show”, with the June Taylor Dancers; and many other early pioneers of TV with guest or house performers. Television then went through a time in the ‘80s and ‘90s where variety shows disappeared. Our friend, Tony Orlando, was one of the last real variety shows to successfully run on TV and it lasted until 1976.  The Carol Burnett Show lasted two more years, finishing its run in 1978.  All these variety shows incorporated live music and performers on TV.

Over two decades of television passed before a new type of “reality” TV show appeared such as “American Idol”, followed by “Dancing with the Stars”, “The Voice”, and others.  These shows presented “common” people performing in hopes of becoming “uncommon.”  These shows have launched new careers for singers, dancers and other performers.

Another voice for music on TV is PBS.  At least twice a year, PBS airs their fund raising telethons and in my opinion, airs some of their finest programs during that time.  PBS specials became a huge opportunity for not-so popular performers to be recognized as tremendous entertainers.  It also gave a stage to performers from the past to be recognized by a new generation and re-appreciated by an older audience.

These “reality” TV shows and PBS specials have launched tours for many performers, giving them the opportunity to perform for live and very appreciative audiences.  I hear quite often from people who would love to see us bring “so and so” to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center to perform.  Many of these performers would not have been recognized if it were not for these popular TV shows.

I happen to think this is a good thing, because like I have said, “live is always better!”  It also gives performers the opportunity to keep performing for an appreciative audience willing to pay to hear them.  That’s called job security.

As we prepare for a new season in 2015-16 at the Niswonger, I can tell you that, if all goes as planned, you will see some of these performers you have seen on television on our stage in Van Wert.  Since November, our programming committee and I have been working diligently on another inspiring season of performances for you to enjoy.  In just two weeks, on April 14, at the StepCrew concert, we plan on announcing the new Community Concert Series for 2015-16.  It will be filled with new and familiar performers, some you have seen and heard on TV.

As soon as we can get a confirmed season completed and approved, we will announce the rest of the season.  Our goal is to have it ready to unveil early in June.  You will be amazed with some of the talent we (hopefully) have lined up for next season.  Once again, even more performers you may have seen as a result of these recent TV shows.  Television and performing arts centers are teaming up to bring music into your lives.  It seems to be a working combination that has become successful.

Music is also a very important aspect of this Easter season.  Celebrate Easter in a church of your choice and may music fill your soul in a good way as you celebrate the triumphal resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Happy Easter, everyone!


POSTED: 03/31/15 at 8:31 pm. FILED UNDER: News