A Virtual Valentine: Symphony to hold online performance

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Most years, the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra encourages people to get out and enjoy Valentine’s Day with their annual concert. However, with the COVID-19 continuing, the Symphony decided to encourage people to stay in and enjoy the holiday with a special virtual concert Feb. 13.

A respite to the cold dreariness of February, the Symphony’s virtual “A Broadway Valentine” performance will feature songs from some of the best loved musicals, including “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The Man from La Mancha,” “Les Misérables,” and “Phantom of the Opera.” “There are many amazing classical masterpieces that fit very well into a love themed performance, but for many, hearing pop standards and Broadway showtunes really hits the spot early in the February cold,” conjectured Muscatine Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Brian Dollinger.

Though safety concerns have prevented the Symphony from performing together in its entirety, Dollinger has gotten creative and reworked the songs they will perform to better suit smaller ensembles and select instruments. “I have spent a number of hours re-orchestrating and arranging a variety of popular works in order to fit within the COVID parameters of number and type of musicians that I can utilize for this concert,” detailed Dollinger. “Reconfiguring lines of music that would’ve been in one type of instrument into a member of the string family while keeping the original intent as intact as possible has been a challenging and rewarding experience.”

As a special touch, the Symphony will have Carolyn Jean Brady perform with them, lending beautiful vocals to their outstanding instrumentals. “A wonderful friend and colleague, vocalist Carolyn Jean Brady, will be joining the MSO musicians adding her amazing talent and flair to the entire performance,” said Dollinger. “She will be the centerpiece for all of the exciting and beloved tunes that will be presented.”

After a day filled with practicing, recording, and final editing, the Symphony has their Broadway Valentine ready for audiences to enjoy in a variety of formats. On Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., viewers may tune into the performance via the Symphony’s Facebook page, website, or YouTube channel. Muscatine Power and Water has graciously agreed to broadcast the performance on Chanel Nine as well.

In the past, the Symphony paired their concert with an equally enjoyable dinner. Though they will not host an in person meal this February, they have partnered with the Rendezvous to offer carry out lasagna lunches with sides and dessert. For $20 a meal, music lovers can create a sort of dinner theatre right in their own homes.

As you make plans for your Valentine’s Day weekend, Dollinger encourages you to spend part of it (virtually) with the Symphony: “I believe that experiencing music, and other art forms for sure, energizes, heals, and feeds a person’s soul. It can bring happiness, as well as a contemplative nature to our very being. This particular concert is full of emotional ties and engaging lyrical lines and words that have the great potential to reach each and every one of us. Besides all of that great stuff? It’ll be a fun performance!”