GREAT FALLS — Joel Corda has one of the most unique voices in Great Falls and he’s shared it with the community for decades.
Chances are if you’d ever enjoyed live music at a venue in the Electric City, Corda was the one delivering it. He’s played just about everywhere, every week for a lifetime. “Music has been beautiful for me,” Corda said. “I've gotten to work in the arts in Great Falls for my entire professional life. And that's something I didn't know growing up that I'd be able to do.”
But with bars, restaurants, and concert venues closing nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity to share his talent and voice with a live audience has been taken away. “There were two or three gigs that I've already not been able to play,” he said. “And I haven't been able to see those great people. Music is a huge part of my life.”
So Corda got creative on social media. He’s started a nightly “Homestead Series” concert on Facebook to help him stay connected with Great Falls and provide a little light during these uncertain times. “I'm hearing from people I haven't heard from in years. You do wonder sometimes if you're just a voice in the dark and if anybody's even listening,” Corda said. “But I get really great feedback. I've been blessed by this community anyway. This community has always lifted me up and I will do my best to lift them up too.”
But more than just an avenue to continue performing, Corda hopes to use his nightly concerts to talk about and lift up small businesses. He wants to offer support to the people and places that have supported his life and career for years.
Corda is also a music teacher at North Middle School, and has frequently asked businesses for help with fundraisers or space to hang posters for concerts or events. Not once was he ever turned down.
“All these small places, all these homegrown mom and pop shops they need us,” Corda said. “And what's great about Great Falls is that Great Falls doesn't say no to people. If I need help with an event, I’ll go to the Mighty Mo, or Pizzazz, or the Sting or Candy Masterpiece or many others.
"I don't know if (doing these concerts) is helping but all I can offer is what I have. I have a voice, I can sing, I perform for these places and I'll do what I can.”
And spreading joy through music and the arts has never been more important than it is right now: “When we all come together and put our voices together for something bigger than us, something happens that you can't do on your own,” Corda said. “And I feel that all the time in our community in Great Falls”
Corda’s “Homestead Series” airs live on Facebook six days a week. He’ll take requests Monday-Friday to help promote small businesses, and on Saturday he plans to play 90 minutes of original music just like he would at a normal gig. Click here to visit his Facebook page.