It’s been said music can soothe the savage beast.
And we all might be feeling a bit more turbulent these days because of COVID-19.
Colorado Springs Philharmonic is intent on staying connected with its patrons and the community as a whole, through online engagement, ticket exchanges or donations, and paid musicians.
Three of its performers — Cynthia Robinson, Sergei Vassiliev and Shauna Smith — recently created a video for the orchestra’s YouTube channel that featured each playing a version of Leonard Cohen’s poignant 1984 song “Hallelujah” from his or her own home.
The orchestra’s Facebook page includes a lineup of greetings from musicians plus special digital listening parties. while its YouTube channel will host interviews with special guests, listening parties and more.
“You’ll see more from us and musicians in those places,” president and CEO Nathan Newbrough said. “You’ll see more on social media and in engagement because we care so much about our patrons.”
The orchestra also is standing behind its musicians. It has promised to pay its 72 contracted members their base salary through the end of the season even though it isn’t obligated to do so.
“We could cancel and say sorry; other orchestras around the country are doing that,” Newbrough said. “It’s a heinous time to be a musician. All the work is gone. We’re really proud we’re standing with the musicians. It feels like a risky thing to do, but a responsible stretch and the right thing to do.”
The pandemic has forced the cancellation of two April concerts: “Marvel vs. DC” and “Voices of Light: The Passion of Joan of Arc.” “Aretha: Queen of Soul,” scheduled for May 8-9, has not been canceled though Newbrough will make a judgment call based on Gov. Jared Polis’ recommendations for large group gatherings.
Those who have tickets for a canceled show will receive full value by either donating the ticket back to the orchestra and using it as a tax deduction, or exchanging the ticket for a voucher that can be used next season.
“We are holding out hope for an opportunity over the summer to do a performance or two that’s a triumphant return,” Newbrough said.