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5@5: sharing music during COVID-19 lockdown

Responding to COVID-19 social restrictions, Camerata adapted quickly to online programming, giving audiences the opportunity to tune in and tune out for five minutes each day.



5@5, a series of online five-minute performances developed and presented by Camerata –  Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra

Launched in March 2020, the program began as a way to combat growing anxiety in the community and keep people connected to music during the COVID-19 lockdown in Queensland. The project also provided ongoing employment opportunities for artists through a time of uncertainty. The 5pm time was selected to mark the end of the ‘traditional’ workday with a unique experience to ‘tune in and tune out’ from the unfolding daily events.

5@5 ran for 14 weeks each weekday with audiences taken into the homes and gardens where Camerata’s artists and guests were experiencing lockdown. Each performance provided an opportunity for audiences to learn more about an individual artist and a particular piece of music, with quick introductions before each performance.

5@5’s daily performances ended on 26 June 2020 when changes to social restrictions focused on encouraging audiences to return to live performances. The popularity of the program, however, has led Camerata to continue  with the program each Friday and will form part of Camerata’s digital strategy in 2021.


When and where

March to June 2020, Online


Key stats

  • 7 hours of content created
  • 80 individual sessions
  • 42 artists, eight dogs and two chickens participated
  • in excess of 450,000 views globally


Arts Queensland investment 

Camerata receives $600,000 in funding through Arts Queensland’s Organisations Fund 2017–2020. The Organisations Fund provides multi-year funding for the core operations of Queensland small to medium organisations.



  • Supported opportunities for artists: 5@5 provided an opportunity for Camerata artists to be creative and remunerated within the constraints of social distancing and lockdown.
  • Continued to build staff digital capability: Camerata staff continued to build their digital skills and understanding of digital production, online programming and online licensing.
  • Engaged Camerata’s audience: 5@5 ensured Camerata artists could engage with their audience despite social restrictions. The new format also allowed for deeper engagement between audiences and individual artists.
  • Attracted new audiences: The online performances attracted new audiences, with many expressing interest in attending a live or public performance when social restrictions lifted.

I had never heard of Camerata prior to seeing the link on Facebook. Our family are very music orientated but mostly Music Theatre. I decided to have a new interest in isolation and I am so happy that I have decided to listen to your 5@5. It has awakened a new interest. I have enjoyed each and every one of the artists, the combinations, the family and pet involvement. I look forward to actually see[ing] you all in real life once public performance is allowed. 

  • New revenue stream: Generated a new revenue stream with a successful end of financial year campaign realising 65 per cent increase in number of donors compared to 30 June 2019.



Wonderful as always! Have been looking forward all week to 5@5. 

This has been one of the most beautiful features of the last few months – thank you 

Thank you so much I've received so much joy from your sessions and look forward to coming to one of these live events (if I'm quick enough to get a ticket!!) 

Linking into 5@5 has been a great way to end the day. 


Learnings and reflections

Check with music publishers before performing any music online! Licensing may apply just like a live performance. To note though: many were happy to waive the normal fees due to the nature of the event and some large international publishers got behind promoting 5@5.

Artist wages increase when pre-recording for online content. Check the Award to ensure you are paying appropriate fees.

Learnings from this program and other digital initiatives during COVID-19 has informed Camerata’s Digital Strategy 2021+. Digital projects that connect audiences and create impact will form part of a suite of activities in development for future programs.


Tips for others

Not all digital projects require large scale investment. Start small, test the market and allow the project to grow organically. 5@5 was initially shot on iPhones by artists in their homes and edited by Camerata’s producing team using iMovie. 

Interrogate the impact of the content that you will putting online for audiences. Why will people tune in to watch the content? How will it be different to other established competitors in the market? 


What next

With an easing of restrictions, Camerata has returned to live performance but is continuing with weekly 5@5 performances each Friday until the end of 2020 due to popular demand. A suite of new digital initiatives are in development and will form part of Camerata’s Season 2021.


Find out more

Camerata website


Banner image:  Screen shots of Camerata 5@5 performances (L to R): Episode 71: Sophia Blinks and Elias Kokkoris; Episode 13:Helena Wang and Ann Carew; Episode 62: Kerryn Joyce, Kevin Man and Brendan Joyce; Episode 51: Gregory Daniel; and Episode 70: Rebekah Hall and Kate Worley.