Morris Performing Arts Center and at least one local band not ready for Stage Five

NOW: Morris Performing Arts Center and at least one local band not ready for Stage Five

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced Indiana will be moving ahead to Stage Five of his Back on Track Plan starting on Saturday. That means restaurants, bars and entertainment venues will be opening at full capacity for the first time since they all closed when the pandemic first hit, but not everyone is ready for that kind of transition. The Morris Performing Arts Center and at least one local band said they are not ready to operate with full crowds.

"I will not be playing indoors under the old conditions anytime soon," said local Irish Folk Band Kennedy's Kitchen Founder joHn Kennedy who said he spelled his first name with a capital "H" and lowercase "j" to differentiate himself from former US President John F. Kennedy.

joHn Kennedy said he does not feel safe in an indoor music venue without a mask, yet. His reason hits close to home.

"One of my closest friends, our sound engineer, died of COVID about six weeks ago," Kennedy said. "I'm not doing it."

Kennedy said his band will continue performing and making music, but will not take every gig that comes their way. He said he doesn't want to take any chances. So, he won't be taking any indoor gig anytime soon. Therefore, he said he will have to get creative in how he keeps the band going.

"Right now, I'm teaching myself video production, and I'm focusing on the digital distribution of our music because that whole thing is changing," Kennedy said. "So, that's what I'm spending my time focusing on, and we've got the music ready for our seventh CD."

Kennedy and his band are not the only ones who said they were not ready for sold out shows. The Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend said it is also not ready to fully open its doors.

"We are currently undergoing construction in our theater," said Jane Moore, Morris's Director of Booking and Event Services. About two and a half years ago, the plaster on our ceiling came loose and fell. So, this is a perfect time for some of those repairs. We anticipate that to go through at least mid to end of October."

Moore said she is cautious of opening to full capacity more so because of what goes on behind the scenes.

"I think one of the things that gets missed is what happens behind the stage," Moore said. "For anyone that's ever been backstage, you think about the close quarters that are back there and the amount of people, the stage hands, the lighting crew, the sound crew, the actors, musicians, bands, singers. There's safety not only in the audience, but behind the stage as well."

joHn Kennedy said he will continue to produce music both because it's how he makes a living and because he said he believes in the power of music.

"This morning, I sang for two hours, and it's been a great day." Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he and his band will be releasing their first music video on October 1st.

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