EMSO President Steve Crooks talks about the 2020-2021 Concert Season, COVID-19, and how to support the orchestra in these unprecedented times
How did the EMSO board come to the decision to cancel the first half of the 2020-2021 season?
EMSO’s board has considered the various official statements and recommendations regarding COVID-19 health risks, including for those “at-risk” groups within the orchestra and our audiences. Rehearsals would be problematic from a risk perspective because they require time spent in close proximity to one another and wearing masks would be impractical or not feasible for some instruments. Additionally, it is unclear at this time whether rehearsal space would be available at East Ridge High School in September. The availability of previously scheduled performance venues is also in flux. Due to COVID-19, all performances at Senior Living residences are on hold indefinitely. For at least these reasons, the board decided to suspend orchestra activities through the end of 2020.
What will the board be doing this summer/fall to assess the situation and make decisions concerning the second half of the 2020-2021 season?
EMSO’s board continues to meet online to monitor State recommendations and official projections. We will also evaluate how other groups are adapting to the new realities. Input from orchestra members and audiences will be helpful in planning for the second half of the 2020-2021 season.
When will the board decide what will happen during the second half of the 2020-2021 season?
The board will formulate a decision regarding the second half of the 2020-2021 season by the end of November 2020.
What if the situation with COVID-19 improves before the end of 2020? Is it possible that the orchestra will reconvene before the end of the year if it seems to be safe to do so?
The board will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation. The safety of our musicians and audience is our primary concern. The level of risk will need to be carefully considered; for example, in the absence of a suitable vaccine there may be a decision to delay reconvening, especially for “at risk” groups.
What about small group ensembles? Will EMSO still be supporting these performances?
Some orchestra members may want to gather as small ensembles. However, EMSO will not officially sanction these gatherings.
What can orchestra and audience members do to continue to support the orchestra while we are on this hiatus?
Several orchestra members are providing recordings at EMSO’s YouTube site: https://www.youtube.com/user/EMSOrch/featured
Other orchestra members are encouraged to share their recordings! Our audiences are welcomed to listen and share these videos.