If you need definitive proof that it’s the journey and not the destination that matters most, a new Facebook-driven initiative that’s quickly gaining traction fits the bill nicely.
Founded and administrated by Peterborough musician Ken Tuck, the Facebook group “Peterborough Celebrates!” is closing in on 200 members, most offering a specific talent or professional service for the staging of an event, or events, heralding the yet-to-be-determined return to some sort of pre-pandemic norm for the local music and business communities.
The private group, which can be found at facebook.com/groups/peterboroughcelebrates, has the stated intent “to plan and implement a celebration when restrictions are fully raised. It is my (Tuck’s) wish to exchange ideas on how we can give our local businesses and entertainers the kick start they need. We need to get organized and prepared.”
The journey-destination equation comes into play via Tuck’s admission that, while he’s not sure what the end result of his call to action will be — whether it’s one grand event or a series of smaller ones, the real value lies in the fact that so many are willing to collaborate to make it happen and feel good to be able to work toward something positive.
“People are looking for something to do that has meaning … something that’s going to bring something good to their lives,” says Tuck, a website developer and internet marketer by trade.
“The target for me is two fold. I want to channel some hope for people but also get things going with a solid plan for something in the future,” Tuck adds.
What that “something” is, says Tuck, will emerge as an organizing team is put together and starts hashing out specific ideas.
“It could change, but really my initial vision was go big or go home. How do you get people really excited about something? Usually you have to go big. I see a city-wide event catering to all different genres of music. I also realize there are a lot of small business people that would like to be a part of this. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Business has a huge role to play here.”
The music community that he’s a part of, says Tuck, has, not unlike so many other sectors, been severely affected by pandemic restrictions as opportunities to play live have all but evaporated.
Coupled with what was going on before the pandemic — the closure of live music venues such as The Pig’s Ear, The Spill, and Dobro, and the loss in recent years of notable local music talents such as Jan Schoute, Buzz Thompson, Charlie Earle, and Jimmy Deck — it’s a community that needs to feel good about itself again.
“Peterborough has such a great breadth of talent … we need to foster that in any way, shape or form we can,” says Tuck.
“I had been thinking about this for awhile. It was like ‘What can I do?’ I want to focus on something positive. I want to work towards something. I don’t want to fight something. I’d rather work with people. I love collaborating. I really want to lean on some people.”
While not a fan of Facebook (“I call it the marketplace of bad ideas”), Tuck put his disdain aside and turned to the social media platform as the best and most immediate way of bringing forth willing collaborators.
“Facebook has become a toilet book — you know, those silly little books you have beside the toilet that you sit down and read for five minutes and then forget about,” Tuck says. “But give people the chance to do something good and they’ll jump all over it. I think that’s why this message has really taken off. I think there’s a much better prize ahead of us.”
The end result of any collaboration, admits Tuck, isn’t close to being known, but he has floated the idea of Peterborough musicians making the city streets their stage.
“It was a visual I was feeling at the time,” he explains.
“I did a lot of busking when I was in Australia. There were always magical moments when somebody would come out the crowd. I was doing Twist and Shout with a friend and this guy came out and starting singing La Bamba in Spanish. The crowd went nuts. It was totally random.”
“Then this little Italian guy came out with his apron on and asked ‘Can you sing O Sole Mio for me?’ I said ‘No, but you can.’ So he did that. It was magical just because of people interacting with the music.”
Peterborough Celebrates is “a conversation starter”, says Tuck. And whatever emerges as a result, he’s convinced it will be a huge success.
“I think the reception to live music is going to be better than it was before. There’s something genuine about seeing a happy person singing in a bar or even on the street. That creates a real interaction between human beings. We’ve been missing that.”
Tuck makes no apologies for his optimism nor does he feel he has to.
“At the end of the day, I just want to see happy faces again,” he says.
In the meantime, as the membership of the Peterborough Celebrates group grows, Tuck is developing a website for the initiative.
Ahead, he says, is the formation of an organizing team that will start the discussion around a post-pandemic event or series of events.