Emmanuel United Church in uptown Waterloo has recently created a concert series in order to entertain and encourage the Waterloo community to invest in emerging musicians.

Emmanuel United Church has always been a space for inclusivity; the church made headlines in 2017 when it was vandalized in response to supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The concert series is unrelated to the vandalism, but the church continues to thrive in inclusivity and outreach with their new musical programming.

Neal Moogk-Soulis is a full-time stay at home dad, and creator of the concert series.

“For 15 years, I volunteered at the hillside festival in Guelph, which has given me lots of exposure to different styles of music than perhaps music that I was growing up. Back in April, I saw a post online talking about Side Door,” Moogk-Soulis said.

Side Door is an online platform created to match artists with venues to host them. The concert series is powered by Side Door — connecting artists with the church. The artist and venue split the profits from the show, with Side Door taking a small cut off the total gross amount.

The concert series will be running multiple months out of the year opposed to running for one day or one weekend, aligning with Emmanuel United’s moto is “An Inclusive Church with an Outreach focus.” 

A variety of musicians and artists can book a show at Emmanuel United Church, as long as it doesn’t interfere with regular worship or church-run events.

The concert series is looking to step away from typical classical or spiritual music, and instead will host a wide range of genres, like singer song writer, folk, pop, rock and country. Between Sept. 21 and Dec. 7, there are 12 different artists and bands booked to perform at the church. The full concert series line up, ticket information and music clips can be found on the Emmanuel United Church Website.

“I have tried to [steer away] from booking musicians and bands that typically Maxwell’s or Starlight would book. These experiences are much louder, which could over power the [space]. [I’m] booking musicians that would compliment the acoustics of the space,” Moogk-Soulis said. 

The goal of the series is to provide not only a service to community members, but to also help emerging artists play at venues and to expand their following.

“But this is different because it gives an opportunity for artists in this area to book a venue without having to. At the same time, we give opportunity for an affordable music experience,” Moogk-Soulis said.

“I want people to enjoy themselves at a live concert, hearing someone that they may have not been familiar with before they came to the show. Our role within this project is to bring emerging artists that people may have never heard before to the community [sic].”

To see the line up for upcoming shows, visit Emmanuel United’s Facebook page.