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George Bedard live from The Ark, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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If these were normal times, George Bedard would be performing his ninth History of American Music concert at The Ark in Ann Arbor.

The times are anything but normal, of course, but Bedard will still be performing at The Ark this weekend -- without an audience. Instead he and his band will be on the stage and streamcasting the show, with help from good pal and pianist Mark "Mr. B" Braun as part of a tribute to the late Little Richard.

Bedard, like other performers, is looking forward to playing for a full house again someday. In the meantime, however, he's happy with the alternative -- even if the roar of the crowd will be virtual...

Billed as "The Best of George Bedard and the Kingpins," the show will feature a cross-section American music Bedard, 67, has been performing since he began performing during the late 80s. "We'll do a couple Elmore James tunes, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry -- the stuff people have always responded to. We try not to be too academic about it. I don't try to lecture people; It's more, 'Here's why I Love this song and I'm gonna do it the best I can and do it for you.' It's music that means the most to me and my guys, and hopefully we try to pass that enthusiasm on to the crowd."

Paying tribute to Little Richard fits into that mission as well, Bedard notes. "He's such a part of the fabric of the music that I Love. I listened to Little Richard records since I was a teeanager -- and, of course, he passed away last year, so that's kidn of the impetus for this. We already have several of his tunes in our repertoire and have recorded some, too, so we'll do those and some we've never done before. I just hope my voice doesn't burn out, 'cause nobody can sing like Little Richard." (laughs)

Bedard anticipates that "it will be strange to play without an audience" at The Ark, and he says he and his band will adhere to COVID-19 precautions throughout the production. "We'll be distanced and at least eight feet from each other; There's plenty of room on the Ark stage for that. Everyone's got to ear masks for load-in. We're going to be very careful -- we HAVE to be. There'll just be a sound engineer and a person doing the livestream camera, so we'll keep everything minimal and safe."

George Bedard and the Kingpins, with special guest Mr. B, stream live from The Ark in Ann Arbor at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29 via theark.org/ark-family-room-series. Free, with donations accepted for the artist and venue.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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