Alive at 5 annual Albany summer concert series goes digital with new ‘Palace Sessions’ program

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — People across the Capital Region look forward to getting out of work Thursdays in the summer and heading down Albany’s annual Alive at 5 outdoor summer concert series. City of Albany planners say they couldn’t let COVID-19 just cancel a beloved staple.

“It’s a part of the community, you know? It’s a summer tradition for 30 years,” explains Ryan Murray, Public Relations Coordinator for the City of Albany Office of Cultural Affairs.

Alive at 5 made the first transition to digital with Facebook live streamed solo acts in May, but Murray says the new series, The Palace Sessions, aims to bring back the full concert experience — even if it is through a screen.

“It’s a little bit different than what we’ve been doing with the live at five, which is kind of just we pop up, we show up, we do an hour, we’re out of there,” he says.

This more cinematic series will feature four different local acts recorded, produced and each released in the middle of each month until October. Each session will be filmed at the Palace Theatre and will include facts on the venue and interviews with the bands.

Murray says the city wanted to support the Palace since it lost all its acts since March.

“This is the highlight of our month to be honest with you. We were really ecstatic when they brought it to us,” says Senior Director of Operations and Programming Danny Taylor. “It’s something that needs to happen, supporting local artists and venues and businesses.”

Albany also reached out to a local production company, Mirth Films. Owner Frank Cavone has helped many bands and venues transition to digital throughout the pandemic. He says it’s important to support local talent and help them make up for canceled performances.

“What my company and I will do is basically just fill that time up and try to still give them a way that they can play and share their music. It’s important right now more than ever to get back to these bands that are just really struggling,” Cavone explains.

Each video will be introduced by a different local face. NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton will be the one to feature the first ‘Palace Sessions’ band, Wurliday. The episode will be posted July 15.

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