Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra opens season with live televised broadcast

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 3:12 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra will open their season with a live televised performance in the Davis Concert Hall this upcoming Sunday. After months of silence and the inability to share their talents with an audience, musicians will once again be able to take the stage and play their part in Haydn’s Concerto in C and Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence. However, for this performance the audience will not be sitting in the seats of the concert hall, but in their own homes. For the first time in FSO history, the orchestra will be playing to an empty house with their first performance being aired via a televised broadcast.

Gail Johansen, the Associate Concert Master for the Fairbanks Symphony said the majority of orchestras came to a halt when COVID became more prominent, and those orchestras suspended their seasons until the 2021-2022. FSO took another approach by having a smaller season with a smaller orchestra. “We’re very happy to be back together, again. Of course we’re all going to wear masks at rehearsals and sit six feet apart,” said Johansen. The orchestra has taken the usual measures to prevent spreading the virus but with those precautions come challenges. “We normally sit much closer together, and we can hear each other much better, and so that idea of playing perfectly together and in sync with each other is more challenging this way, because we have to have that distance between us,” said Johansen. There also won’t be any wind instruments in the first few performances and FSO shortened rehearsal time to mitigate spreading the virus.

Dr. Bryan Hall, Concert Master and Associate Professor of Upper Strings at the University of Alaska Fairbanks said hearing the news that the season could be postponed was disheartening. “We had all been building up and working towards a final concert of Beethoven’s 9th to end our season. We were all looking forward to that, so it was really demoralizing," he said. Members of the orchestra safely kept practicing to keep the music alive. “This group would get together...if there was a zombie apocalypse...so once we found a way and got permission to do it, our morale was back up. Let’s do this thing. Let’s contribute. Let’s do our duty to bring beauty in times that are challenging," said Hall. He went on to say that practicing and performing a live televised broadcast is a way to grasp on to any semblance of normalcy. For the Fairbank Symphony Orchestra...despite the virus...the show must go on but instead of sitting in a large theater, viewers can watch and listen to them on the small screen.

The Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra will have their first performance live on MeTV Channel 7 on Sunday, September 27, at 4:00 p.m. The performance will also be livestreamed on webcenterfairbanks.com.

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