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Historical Society of Carroll County enlists Community Media Center for help with modified, high-tech gala

The Historical Society of Carroll County is going high-tech to fight the coronavirus pandemic’s impact.

When the statewide shutdown to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 caused the historical society to cancel its annual Legacy Gala in April and then again in July, according to an HSCC news release, its gala committee sought the help of the Community Media Center. Members saw the CMC as an unmatched way to connect with the public in challenging times.

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Confronted with the task of producing a studio-based show in the time of COVID-19, CMC Executive Director Richard Turner came up with an innovative solution. Not only will the gala be virtual, but so will the studio set.

Using the latest technology, the CMC will place on-camera participants in front of its green screen wall, keeping them socially distant from each other and the production crew. Then technicians will digitally insert these participants into a custom-designed, computer-generated setting.

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The Legacy Gala has now become virtual, admission free, and is scheduled for telecast on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 7 to 8 p.m. The public may watch it on cable channel HD 1086, on the HSCC Facebook page at facebook.com/hsccmd, and on the historical society’s website, hsccmd.org.

“The CMC is perfectly positioned to help organizations with communications during the pandemic, using video streaming and special effects technologies to overcome the limitations of distance, thereby keeping our community informed and engaged," Turner said.

Lynn Wheeer, the Legacy Gala committee chair said, “The society is fortunate to have this critical partnership with the CMC during this most challenging time for all non-profit organizations.” She added that she is thrilled, “Our gala host will be Carolyn Black Sotir, actress, journalist, vocalist, and on-air personality for Maryland Public TV.”

The high-tech solutions do not end there. Society galas have long included silent and live auctions to help raise funds, and this virtual one will be no different. The historical society has contracted with OneCause, a company that handles technical arrangements for charities seeking to do online auction bidding. Legacy Gala participants will now be able to bid using their smart phones. To participate, go to one.bidpal.net/HSCC to register for the online auction. While the virtual gala is free, all donations via this link are welcomed and encouraged.

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The theme of the gala is “Breaking Barriers,” in honor of the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women’s suffrage. The telecast will include interviews with local barrier breakers Leslie Simmons, Virginia Harrison, and Joan Coley, and the music of the Eric Byrd Trio and vocalist Jordan Costley.

The Legacy Gala is the largest annual fundraiser for the Historical Society of Carroll County, and this year, more than ever, it is relying on the community’s financial support, according to the release.

“Our Legacy Gala is critically important to us,” Executive Director Steve Jakobovic said. "Proceeds go toward the maintenance of our three historic houses, our collection of historic artifacts, and the operating fund. History instills pride of place and all donations will help the county continue to be a great, vibrant place in which to work and live.”

For more information about the Breaking Barriers Legacy Gala, go to the Historical Society of Carroll County’s website at hsccmd.org/breaking-barriers.

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