MUSCATINE, Iowa–As COVID-19 mitigation efforts came into full force in mid March, the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra saw its annual MasterWorks concert season abruptly cut short. Despite its sudden pause in performances, the Symphony has found a variety of ways to connect to patrons online, and plans to continue finding ways to bring music to the community in safe and creative ways.
“The Symphony, like many arts organizations, has been working to stay connected to its audience base, contributor base, and future partners for the Symphony through social media, e-mail newsletters, partnership with public radio WVIK, and updates to our website,” explained Muscatine Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Brian Dollinger.
In particular, the Symphony has worked to connect with the community by giving them a look at what their performers do to keep busy during their time at home and the new musical endeavors they have embarked on. “Musicians from the symphony are sharing peeks into what they are doing during these trying times, elaborated Dollinger: “Some are learning new instruments, while others are spending as much time as possible with their families. I’ve discovered hidden talents of musicians that I’ve known for years and can’t wait to share them with the Muscatine community.” Along with these slices of life, the Symphony has worked hard to make many concert clips available and looks forward to releasing longer works for people to view as in-home concerts in the days to come.”
Though Dolligner does not know quite what the 2020-2021 concert season will look like as social distancing guidelines change often, he has hope that the Symphony may perform some in-person concerts. “I have been to war, during my time in the Marine Corps, and I know things are always possible with the right mindset and planning.”
To that end, Dollinger has worked to select music that he finds suited to smaller audiences and possibly to smaller groups of performers: “I am also making repertoire selections that might be substituted should there be restrictions on numbers of people at a gathering or even on stage together. I am hopeful that whatever our collective situation will be, the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra will be bringing live symphonic performances to our community.”
Though the Symphony will not look to hold in-person concerts for some time, they would like to remind anyone with tickets from canceled events this spring that they have several options for using them, including using them at at a future concert, using them as a tax deductible donation to the Symphony, or returning them for a full refund. For full details, you may visit the Symphony’s website at https://www.muscatinesymphony.org.
In the meantime, Dollinger highly encourages everyone looking to add a little music to their lives to visit the Symphony’s Facebook page to continue enjoying the concert clips and video messages Symphony members have created. ” I am hopeful that our online content can fill a temporary gap for those looking to experience local artists performing their craft,” shared Dollinger.