Sunrise Sjoberg to perform in Arts by Air radio series

A partnership between Bunnell Street Arts Center and KBBI, the radio event marks three years of performances

Sunrise Sjoeberg will be the performing musician in Homer’s November Arts by Air radio series co-produced by Bunnell Streets Arts Center and KBBI.

The Homer born-and-raised musician will focus her program on original pieces that chronicle a lifetime. She will also sing some pieces in remembrance of other Homer musicians.

Although she has played many times in the Bunnell gallery in collaboration with other local events such as the Kachemak Bay Shore Bird Festival, the performance will be her first solo show.

Her Arts by Air solo performance will take place on Friday Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. The audience needs to arrive by 6:45 p.m. in order for the live radio show to begin on time.

Sjoeberg takes pride in her Homer roots — she was born in a Sears and Roebuck mail-order house near Thurston Drive on East End Road.

Sjoeberg said her other siblings were born in larger hospital facilities in Anchorage, Seldovia or Seward but her mother was adamant that she wanted one child born in Homer. Since 1978 she has lived in a home almost directly across the street from the original family home.

“I learned to sing on my mother’s knee. Growing up in a family that sang in harmony, I have always loved making music with others,” she is quoted as saying in an artist’s statement to Bunnell.

Most of her performance opportunities have been in collaboration with others and she is excited to be able to perform this as her first solo concert, she said. Her songs will be accompanied by guitar, piano and on Zalimba, according to the Bunnell website.

The Arts by Air radio series was started in December 2020 to provide musicians, originally primarily local, an opportunity to share their music with others when COVID prevented the opportunity to perform live.

In the first few months of the program, musicians were recorded in their own homes and the music was broadcast through Homer’s KBBI public radio.

Adele Person, executive director of Bunnell Street Arts Center, said a grant provided the funding for the first Arts by Air program.

“The grant offered a way to pay musicians who were out of work and to find a way to connect our community in lieu of the music scene that is appreciated so much here,” Person said.

As the program has been sustained with support from the Homer Foundation, the event has continued with musicians performing live at the Bunnell gallery, recorded and broadcast live by KBBI and with a small in-person house audience in attendance. Arts by Air still includes many local artists but also musicians who are traveling or visiting from other places in the state.

Person notes that one of the best things about Arts by Air event is the continued three-year partnership between the two local organizations and that it provides a venue as goal concert location for bands that might be new to the performance scene.

In addition to the live performance, the events are also recorded and held in archives at KBBI.

“The archives are significant because they contribute to building a community portrait of who plays music and what the Alaska scene looks like,” Person said.

Musicians interested in the event are kept listed by Bunnell. Person noted that there are only 12 performances each year but they probably could host far more than that with number of people interested across the state. The monthly performance is not necessarily scheduled far in advance; it just depends on what works for the gallery, who has expressed interest and who might be in the community.

“We just keep an ongoing list of people who we would love to see on the show and touch base with musicians as it is conducive to various schedules,” Person said.

The December event will be a two-hour special, “Parlour in the Round with Kevin Worrell.”

This event will feature three musicians and offer an opportunity for audience participation. The audience will be able to submit written prompts at the event for the artists to create songs on-site.

“At the December event you’ll be able to see the musicians break down the craft of music composition,” Adele said.

That event will take place Dec. 15.