Idaho Falls Symphony Modifies 71st Season Amid Pandemic
July 17, 2020 - After months of planning during an ever-changing news cycle, the 71-year-old Idaho Falls Symphony has adopted a list of safety precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic that have resulted in a host of changes to the upcoming season. In June, the Symphony’s Board of Directors created a COVID-19 Planning Committee consisting of staff, musicians, and board members that was tasked with examining issues surrounding live events. The Committee recently proposed policies, approved by the Board, designed to ensure the safety of Symphony patrons, musicians, volunteers, students, and staff.
Among the policies being implemented, which have been posted to the organization’s website, there will be no Symphony events with live audiences for the rest of 2020. Ensembles will be limited to 10-15 physically-distanced musicians instead of the regular 60-65 member orchestra, with face masks required for everyone involved. The Planning Committee will reconvene at the end of 2020 to assess the safety conditions for moving forward into 2021. Meanwhile, the Symphony will be producing video recordings and releasing them as part of an online season.
“These are challenging times,” remarks music director Thomas Heuser, “and definitely not how I had imagined my tenth season in Idaho Falls. But we feel strongly that these precautions are necessary. I will look forward to the day when we can invite our beloved audiences back into the concert hall. That day will certainly come, but in the meantime, we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our musical community.”
In the absence of live audiences, the Symphony is preparing an online season with access to a host of digital content. Concerts of the smaller Symphony ensembles and chamber groups will be recorded and released during live broadcasts, which audiences can access with a subscription through the Symphony website. Plans for the online season also include Pre-Concert Talks by Heuser, interviews with composers and musicians, an array of educational videos, and more.
“Without being able to bring live audiences to the Symphony, we are proudly going live online to bring the Symphony to our audience,” explains executive director Alekzandria Peugh. “We have always looked for ways to reach new patrons, especially those who face barriers to attending live concerts, and now we have that opportunity. The online offerings won’t replace live music forever, but right now we are learning how to use the digital platform to expand the reach of our organization so the community can still enjoy music by our beloved local musicians.”
The previously announced concert dates and repertoire have all been modified to meet the new guidelines. Audiences are encouraged to visit the Symphony website for updated details in the coming days and weeks. Subscriptions to the online season are expected to become available starting in a few weeks. While the office remains closed to the public at this time, questions and concerns can be sent directly to the Symphony at www.ifsymphony.org.