William Lederer, executive director of the Chocolate Church Arts Center, will the be the first performer in the nonprofit’s free online concert series. The first concert can be watched on the organization’s Facebook page tonight at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of William Lederer 

BATH — After the city of Bath and the Gov. Janet Mills put restrictions on social gatherings, Bath’s arts centers did what they do best — they got creative.

To adapt, the Chocolate Church Arts Center, which was forced to postpone all theater and concert performances, is launching a free online concert series, “Live From Home,” which premieres tonight at 7:30 p.m.

“We’re a nonprofit with a mission of bringing the arts to as many people as possible,” said William Lederer, executive director of the Chocolate Church and the first performer of the series. “Even with everything going on, that mission isn’t going to change.”

Lederer said brainstorming ways to bring music and the arts to people in their homes was his natural reaction as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to rise.

“People are on edge, and if seeing me perform some songs brings them comfort or distracts them, then that’s great,” he said. “When a crisis happens, our brains snap into action. I didn’t want to hide and tremble.”

Anyone wanting to watch “Live from Home” can visit the  Chocolate Church Arts Center’s Facebook page at the time of the show, where they will be directed on how to watch.


The Chocolate Church Arts Center will announce other performers during the next few weeks. Lederer said he hopes to put on a few concerts a week, but it depends on how many musicians are intersted in performing.

“The amazing thing about this is we may keep doing this when this is all over,” said Lederer.

Around the corner, the Green Lion Gallery on Front Street found a similar way to bring their art to people from the comfort and safety of their homes with an online gallery, which offers the public a way to interact with and purchase art.

“Art is a good respose to times like this, so we’re finding a way to do that safely,” said Austin Armstrong, the gallery’s director.

While the gallery doesn’t draw large crowds during the winter, Armstrong said all gallery openings and other events, which typically draw a crowd of 20, had to be postponed until further notice. In response, Armstrong turned his attention to the opportuntiy the internet provided.

“Our website has been a growing part of our business, and this is a great time to focus on that and make it more user-friendly,” said Armstrong.


Across the street, Ebb and Flow Yoga began offering yoga classes via live stream this week after closing its doors Monday until further notice, according to the studio’s Facebook page.

Owner Courtney McDonald said about 20 to 25 people have joined each online class, some of which are familiar, but others are new.

“We had a student move to Spain last year who joined us for a class while she’s quarantined there,” said McDonald. “Seeing those faces is a little thread of normalcy that is so needed right now.”

Down the street, instructors at Bath Dance Works, which specializes in dance and music classes for children, are exploring the possibility of live streaming classes.

Sharon Pyne, an instructor at Bath Dance Works of 25 years, said she was hesitant to try teaching classes online, but was willing to do whatever necessary to keep her lease because she “hopes in a month or two we’ll be back together.”

Pyne said she was forced to stop holding her children’s dance classes at the studio because they draw groups of 20 – 10 children and 10 parents.

“We’re exploring how to continue classes in a different way,” she said. “The last thing we want to do is stop holding classes. … There are a lot of hopeful things happening now.”

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