NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After an 18-month intermission, the Nashville Symphony has returned to the stage at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
The Symphony's first live performance was Thursday, but musicians and staff are celebrating an opening weekend of performances on Friday and Saturday, as well.
Friday's performance included opening remarks from President and CEO Alan Valentine, and then the Symphony performed Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man and Joan Tower's Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 1. Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero also made his opening remarks.
Hearing live music echo through the Schermerhorn Symphony Center was something musicians, and Symphony employees were grateful for.
"It was just really fantastic to hear the orchestra," said Valentine. "I admit my eyes got a little moist."
The Nashville Symphony has put multiple policies in place to help keep musicians and patrons safe. Musicians are distanced on the stage, and some numbers are arranged to keep a smaller orchestra on stage."
All audience members were being asked to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to performance start time. Rapid COVID tests were also offered outside the building. Inside the building, masks are required, tickets and programs are now digital, and hand sanitizing stations are set up throughout the venue. The Schermerhorn Symphony Center has also hospital-grade air filters installed throughout the building.
Valentine said he hoped the additional safety measures would make people feel safe returning to see performances.
"We are really following clear guidance from CDC, HCA, and Epidemiologists, and listening to our patrons," said Valentine. "As the pandemic moves forward we will make adjustments as needed."
When the pandemic shut down the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, musicians and staff members were furloughed. Some musicians turned to online performances, and other odd jobs to make ends meet. The Nashville Symphony was able to work with them to provide a stipend as their unemployment benefits ran out, but Valentine described the last year as one of the most challenging in the Symphony's 75 year history.
"We are deeply grateful and know that the support from the community has really made a difference," said Valentine. "I think that what we do will help our community heal in ways that nothing else can."
The Nashville Symphony will perform again Saturday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets are still available. More information here: www.nashvillesymphony.org