Success of The Church of the Lost Souls 12-week series at the historic Parkway Theater (Minneapolis, MN) combined intention, brilliant musicianship, and courage during Covid.
This musical revue was first described in the press as, “It’s not really a church and you don’t have to be lost or found to attend or tune in.” The Church of the Lost Souls (CLS) was originally conceived in 2016 as a theater-based concert experience aimed at the high percentage of people who don’t like religion but are searching for a sense of purpose and community through a wide variety of music without any constraints. No one could have guessed the relevance of those objectives by the time CLS finally launched in early 2021.
From the traditional theme song (Gospel Plow – Bob Dylan, Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington and many others) to re-interpreted radio classics from the 70’s/80’s and beyond, (see song-list below) this Prairie Home Companion-like program was the first weekly series of live performances launched in the Twin Cities during the Covid- restricted era.
CLS provided dozens of world-class musicians (listing below) an opportunity to work regularly again, re-connect with their art-form and fans, while giving audiences the chance to safely gather both in the theater and via live-stream. It re-invigorated musicians, fan-bases, live-audiences and single-handedly reopened the pandemic- dormant Parkway Theater to the local arts community.
A large part of the success of the series can be found in the answer to the question raised weekly:
Q: “Who would attend the Church of the Lost Souls?” A: Why that’s simple: Anyone looking for direction(s)!”
The socio-psychological effects of Covid-19 pushed the world into a whirlwind of confusion, isolation and despair. CLS pushed back – demonstrating a sense of direction through weekly live unedited shows dedicated to music of joy, hope, and community.
Thousands experienced CLS in-person, nationally and around the world via live- streams for 12 consecutive weeks from February 14 through May 2, 2021. This was precisely a period of intense local political/racial conflict as legal proceedings from Minneapolis were broadcast daily around the globe. The Parkway Theater is 10 blocks south on Chicago Avenue from those worldwide broadcasts. (see testimonials below).
As pre-production and contract meetings began in October of 2020, no vaccine existed. However, to best serve the community and get musicians back to work safely producer, Billy McLaughlin, decided to risk profitability choosing to “be ahead of the ticket-sales curve” live-streams could deliver much needed content directly to those who lived far away or chose to stay home. All live-streams were on a “pay-what-you- can” basis making them essentially free.
“I am forever grateful to those who believed in me and the CLS mission. Many offered words of encouragement and a few special folks helped me make the best of the remainder of my SBA disaster loan. I could not have created this show nor would I have dedicated my loan and their loving contributions to anything that didn’t create community healing through music.” – Billy McLaughlin
Building upon the success of CLS is now the focus of Billy McLaughlin together with his talented roster of musicians and The Parkway Theater. Six weekly shows titled, The Lost Souls Revival, begin October 3 through November 7, 2021.
Please consider ways you can participate moving us forward locally and nationally/globally to reach more people, present more special guests, and support our mission of re-building community through arts and music.