Black Men In America.com Publisher, Gary Johnson caught up with Florida-based entertainment impresario, Chauncey Dunham, Chief Executive Officer of the fastest growing entertainment company in North Central, Florida — Dante Productions. Gary and Chauncey casually chatted about Dante’s rise along the Florida entertainment landscape and how the Coronavirus has impacted the business, including artists, musicians and staff.
BMIA.com: Chauncey thank you for taking the time for this interview. How has this COVID-19 impacted your business? I know you had a robust calendar. 2020 was going to be a “breakout” year for you.
Chauncey Dunham: We were devastated. We canceled the entire first half of the year. We had three large shows with some unique concepts such as “Jazz on the Green,” with our newest singer Scherezada Morales singing with the Chris Clarke Quintet at the Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences which we had to postpone until Aug 29. Additionally, we had the fantastic duo of, Lois Williams and Daphne Cooper singing with Strings and Things at the Daytona Beach Bank and Blues Club. That show had to be postponed until Oct.3.
Singers Daphne Cooper & Scherezada Morales
We also had the band GROOV doing the NAACP Gala and that was postponed until Sept 26. Nobody has a clue how long this pandemic is going to last, so we are in a “wait and see” mode.
BMIA.com: Do you have a plan ready to rollout if this COVID-19 lasts throughout the summer? Or if another crisis occurs?
Chauncey Dunham: I also serve as the Chief Visionary Officer. You better believe we have a plan. The staff and I developed a new technical platform that will allow us to continue to produce shows should things drag on longer than estimated. Our world has changed. We were forced to make some drastic changes to keep up and to survive. We’re almost finished with our new infrastructure. We plan to launch Phase I in June 2020. We call it P2V. Phase II is scheduled to rollout in 2021.
BMIA.com: What is P2V?
Chauncey Dunham: P2V is our framework to develop and produce virtual concerts and once we get back to “normal,” whatever that will look like, regular shows. In a very short time, “social distancing,” has become part of our lives. This is going to have a major impact on our business, specifically hampering the ability of our musicians and artists to work and get paid.
BMIA.com: How has it been breaking into the North Central, Florida area as a new company?
Chauncey Dunham: Let me say this, “It’s been interesting.” I leave it at that for now. You can draw your own conclusions.
BMIA.com: OK, since you’re leaving that up to us, can I assume that a black-owned and managed company is breaking new ground and reshaping some people’s reality about entertainment?
Chauncey Dunham: You said that, I didn’t it. Let me just add that we may be black owned, but we are a full-fledged ENTERTAINMENT company. When I see opportunities to secure solid entertainment, that’s when I lead the talented people around me close the deal. Let me put it to you this way. Our shows are VERY diverse.
Chauncey Dunham and Gary Johnson
BMIA.com: What’s in store for 2021?
Chauncey Dunham: We had shows on the books for London and Tokyo, but they were canceled. Maybe the Tokyo show will come back based on the Olympics.
BMIA.com: Is your team upset about how the crisis has impaired your ability to work?
Chauncey Dunham: That’s a good question. My sense is that our singers are not upset, they’re bored. The musicians are teaching private lessons and they’re feeling the financial pinch. The back office staff has time to catch up with office paperwork and some administrative duties. Some of our venue partners have announced closing for the rest of the year, some for remodeling. For me, I have more time to sleep late.
BMIA.com: Any final words or comments?
Chauncey Dunham: Yes. Watch out for P2V!
BMIA.com: We certainly will. Thank you Chauncey and good luck in 2020 and beyond.
Chauncey Dunham: You’re very welcome and see you at the show!
Singer Daphne Cooper