It’s fair to say that this past year has brought about a fair bit of change. The performing arts are no exception to this and, perhaps, embody the necessity for change a little more than others. Gone were the days of sitting elbow to elbow with a fellow concertgoer, shaking hands with old friends in the lobby, or sharing a drink with a friend while waiting for the concert to start. Although, as we come into the spring season, concert hall doors are slowly starting to open once again, there are side effects of COVID-19 that may stick around.
Performing arts organizations across the country took the challenges presented by the pandemic and used them to spur on an enormous amount of creativity that took the field by storm. Projects that were originally considered impossible or placed on the back burner for future seasons were taken to the forefront in an effort to keep dedicated arts lovers engaged while also ensuring that accessibility to art continued through a time of isolation.
Your Jacksonville Symphony joined colleagues across the nation to reimagine the way symphonic music could be presented. The summer of 2020 brought weekly digital performances performed by smaller symphony ensembles as well as individually recorded quarantine concert videos made by symphony musicians themselves. The trend continued into the season as the education department created streamable performances designed specifically for teachers to use in their classrooms, digital or otherwise.
Perhaps most exciting was livestreaming every Friday evening Florida Blue Masterworks concert in full. In previous seasons, the symphony has streamed half of three or four Masterworks performances throughout the season; this was a big upgrade. With a supporting sponsorship from the Mayo Clinic, these streams are perfect for those still uncomfortable with returning to Jacoby Symphony Hall or a way to share the symphonic music Jacksonville loves with those outside of the city.
While ticket sales are capped at a certain level due to a physically distanced symphony hall, the symphony’s streaming program has allowed for an additional source of revenue. Individual streams can be purchased or patrons can purchase the full Jacoby Symphony Hall [LIVE] series and gain access to all livestreamed performances from the 2020/21 season.
There are many things we are all looking forward to vanishing after COVID-19: masks, six-foot bubbles, and a lack of live entertainment. However, the creativity found during this challenging time has rendered ideas that are now fully functioning strategies that are sure to stay.
We hope you’ll join the Jacksonville Symphony either in person in Jacoby Symphony Hall or from the comfort of your home with the Jacoby Symphony Hall [LIVE] series. Either way, we look forward to performing soul-stirring music for our community.