Berthoud duo Acoustic Eidolon to play donation-based virtual holiday show Saturday

Musicians will perform at an empty Rialto Theater in Loveland

Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire, husband-and-wife duo of Acoustic Eidolon, perform at Waterville Opera House in Kansas on March 13, 2020. Acoustic Eidolon will perform a livestreamed show from The Rialto Theater in Loveland on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The duo’s annual holiday show was originally scheduled for Dec. 4 and 5. The online event will be donation-based. (Paul Franciskato/ Courtesy photo)
Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire, husband-and-wife duo of Acoustic Eidolon, perform at Waterville Opera House in Kansas on March 13, 2020. Acoustic Eidolon will perform a livestreamed show from The Rialto Theater in Loveland on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The duo’s annual holiday show was originally scheduled for Dec. 4 and 5. The online event will be donation-based. (Paul Franciskato/ Courtesy photo)
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The Berthoud-based Celtic musicians of Acoustic Eidolon were originally scheduled to play to an in-person audience this weekend at The Rialto Theater in Loveland. Due to the COVID-19 Level Red status of Larimer County, the world-touring husband-and-wife duo’s traditional two-night run has been adjusted to a free livestream from the venue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire, husband-and-wife duo of Acoustic Eidolon, perform at Waterville Opera House in Kansas on March 13. Acoustic Eidolon will perform a livestream show from The Rialto Theater in Loveland on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The duo’s annual holiday show was originally scheduled for this weekend. The online event will be donation-based. (Paul Franciskato/ Courtesy photo)

“Typically we’re just getting back from a month-long tour in Europe and skidding in to play to our hometown crowd,” said the duo’s cellist Hannah Alkire. “So, there were some tears on this particular change. But, this new online platform is becoming comfortable and is a new normal for us now. Honestly, it opens up elements that are different or harder to pull off in a live concert, like various lighting and video overlays on the streaming screen.”

On Saturday, Acoustic Eidolon will take the stage at the empty historic venue that temporarily closed to the public on Nov. 24 and play a donation-based show, with proceeds going to themselves and The Rialto — an event space that had to cancel, postpone or adjust all of December’s scheduled acts to virtual platforms.

Hannah Alkire, cellist of Acoustic Eidolon poses for a photo in Utqiagvik, formerly Barrow, Alaska, in 2019. (Zach Damberger/Courtesy photo)

“It should be a true treat in the audio and visual realms and we’ll be putting our whole hearts into every note going out to all the people we adore and can’t see this time,” Alkire said. “We’re looking forward to just knowing we can be together, even on a one-way stream and hoping we can bring some sense of tradition, peace and hope to the people who support us and come to these shows. And we’re excited to share some of the new music.”

Without a hectic tour schedule, the downtime brought on by the pandemic has actually allowed the creatives time to craft a new musical offering.

“This time has been a gift in very strange wrapping paper,” Alkire said. “For a few years, Joe (Scott) and I had been talking about how or when we could take a sabbatical to recharge, go creative and catch our breath, but we never wanted to interrupt the momentum or disappoint fans or venues in any regions. So when this happened, I was devastated by the loss of the road and hearing all the stories and our connections with people and Joe (Scott) was so steady and positive and kept saying how this was actually going to be OK and what we needed.”

Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire of Berthoud-based duo Acoustic Eidolon. (Mark Sims/ Courtesy photo)

Acoustic Eidolon’s 13th album “Remembering The Sun,” was released last month.

“This new CD is a deeper, more introspective collection because we have actually had the time to listen, write the songs, work with them, take our time and do lots of kayaking and bike rides and hikes that inspired us and gave us more perspective through it all,” Alkire said. “We’re very weirdly grateful.”

Saturday’s performance will include old favorites and fresh material.

“We decided that what people need this season is a good dose of familiar, in these new and crazy times, so we are playing several Christmas songs, some vintage Acoustic Eidolon vocals and instrumentals and basically sprinkling the set with plenty of familiar moments for people to just kind of soak in, hopefully,” said Joe Scott, Acoustic Eidolon’s double-neck guitjo player. “We will be featuring three new songs from the new CD — two vocals that Hannah (Alkire) sings and a piece from the Faroe Islands that we learned on our tour there in 2019. One of Hannah’s vocals is about her great-great grandfather, and her family in Utqiagvik, Alaska, that she and her son got to meet in summer 2019, which was a life-changer.”

The upcoming concert will be archived through December so folks can watch it at their leisure and revisit throughout the month. Folks can access it through vimeo.com/485607266 or visit RialtoTheaterCenter.org the day of the show to watch along.

The group, never afraid to explore new artistic territory, has garnered a reputation for transforming hard-hitting rock songs of Queen and Led Zeppelin into captivating covers.

“Joe (Scott) is our master arranger and so he arranges all of our songs,” Alkire said. “The new CD has one big cover, which is the Leonard Cohen song, ‘Hallelujah.’ That will be a part of this livestream set at the Rialto this Saturday.”

Through multiple cancellations, Alkire and Scott even briefly considered a career change.

“In the silence of our own home, at times since March, we’ve of course wondered if we should maybe drive for Amazon or work at Home Depot, but the music has been so strong in us that it has felt like we’re still supposed to be doing what we love more than anything, which is this life of music,” Alkire said.

The Rialto — a premier performing arts center that originally operated as a silent film theater in the 1920s — is adjusting to the new restrictions brought on by the pandemic.

“Acoustic Eidolon’s holiday show is a beloved tradition at the Rialto,” said Steve Lemmon, Rialto Theater manager. “With the move to Level 4, we obviously had to cancel most of our December programming, which is heartbreaking as this is our busiest time of year.”

The venue has invested in state-of-the-art tools to best deliver virtual entertainment.

“We recently purchased, with the help of our non-profit partner, Backstage Rialto, all the equipment needed to support this kind of programming,” Lemmon said. “Even though there won’t be a live audience, you can still expect all the virtuosity and well-crafted songs that this group brings to the stage each time they perform.”

It’s Lemmon’s goal to offer more online concerts for however long the pandemic-related restrictions prevent The Rialto from opening its doors.

“The Rialto is moving through all the necessary steps of dealing with the recently announced closure,” Lemmon said. “This includes rescheduling and refunding a full schedule of events. It is our hope to fill dates in December with virtual content from a host of national and regional acts. We are also looking at ways to produce concerts from our stage using our live-streaming equipment to its fullest capacity.”

While theater seats will not be filled this month, patrons can help the center by giving contributions.

“The best way that people can support the Rialto is to watch our virtual programming and donate, if means allow, to the theater and the musical acts we are presenting,” Lemmon said. “This pandemic is devastating to the entire performing arts community, so every dollar counts.”

Monetary gifts can be made directly to backstagerialto.com.

“Every dollar donated will be used to further and support performing arts in our community,” Lemmon said.