Sgt. Peppercorn's Marathon planning virtual concert for NYE

Joel Oliphint
joliphint@columbusalive.com
Joe Peppercorn

In an update posted to Facebook last night, bandleader Joe Peppercorn announced that this year's Sgt. Peppercorn's Marathon, the annual event in which a bunch of local musicians perform every single Beatles song in chronological order, will be reinvented as a livestream concert on New Year's Eve in 2020. 

"It will be LIVE; it will be the full band, it will be in a large studio with great lighting and bells and whistles; it will be multi-camera high definition; it will be completely free to watch; it will sound great," Peppercorn wrote, in part. "It will be New Year's Eve; it will start some time a little before lunch; it will end some time a little after the ball drops; it will feature custom artwork by our friend Nicholas Nocera; it will not be a consolation prize; it will cost a lot of money for us to make; it will be the absolute best quality possible for you; it will require us to ask that, should you be of the means to do so, you be so kind as to send us a tip or a few sponsorship dollars."

For the last several years, the marathon has taken place at the Bluestone. (Last year, Paul McCartney himself recorded an introduction to the show.) Of course, a packed Bluestone concert isn't possible this year due to COVID restrictions and safety concerns. For a while, in fact, Peppercorn said he wasn't sure the marathon could or should happen at all in 2020.

"I [thought] there might be no way to do this without your beautiful faces right in front of me. But, I believe that there's an energy in all of us that carries and resonates beyond the presence we feel in front of one another," wrote Peppercorn, who is also finishing a solo record titled Darkening Stars. "I believe that us playing in a moment and you experiencing that moment with us (with a touch of latency), and interacting with us, is something we should experience together. I believe that letting you guys know that the show is still happening, rain or shine, pandemic or nigh, is, hopefully, something of value."

The news is, indeed, a ray of light in an increasingly dark year. The Beatles marathon has become so much more than a group of talented musicians pulling off a superhuman feat (though it is that). It's a celebratory, communal gathering.