Sgt. Peppercorn's Marathon planning virtual concert for NYE

Joel Oliphint
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.