While 2020 presented many hurdles for arts organizations, Boulder Symphony managed to deliver several in-person performances.
Although the orchestra’s community-focused concert “True Love” did not go as planned on Valentine’s Day weekend due to a spike in COVID cases, organizers and musicians alike have turned their attention. reunited and set two new dates for Thursday at the Boulder Theater.
“It’s going to be a symphony concert, the same great composers, the same great performers, with one exception – about half the orchestra will be seated in this one,” said Devin Patrick Hughes, conductor of Boulder Symphony. “The only performers this week are our string players, then our solo harpist, Hillary Schefter. This is for the safety of all participants, so we can make sure that everyone is masked and not playing any particle scatter instruments – winds, brass, etc.
The size of the audience is also small, with 100 participants per concert allowed in the historic venue which, before the pandemic, hosted up to 850 people.
“While we are certainly missing half of our orchestra, they will be back soon and this string-only orchestral arrangement has given us the opportunity to play some incredible masterpieces that we would never have played before. pandemic, ”said Hughes.
The exciting show will feature “Sacred Dance and Profane Dance” by Claude Debussy, “Adagietto” from “Symphony No. 5” by Gustav Mahler and “Serenade for Strings” by Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky.
“We know that Tchaikovsky wrote the idea of love in music – think” Romeo and Juliet “and” Swan Lake “- better than almost any other composer and that is why this featured symphony tops the list. poster “True Love”, ”said Hughes.
Each carefully selected piece is an evening of pure virtuosity.
“Debussy was one of the most influential artists of the past 300 years,” said Hughes. “Her music painted in color on a canvas, she allows the listener to feel, feel and taste textures and harmonies. The very supple and ethereal ‘Danses’ features a harp on a tightrope, streamlined and caresses its way through the string orchestra. It will be an incredible opportunity to readjust and recycle our senses and sensitivity after a long dark winter. “
Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. shows range from $ 40 to $ 65.
“Honestly, I am very happy to hear the applause from the audience when Devin (Hughes) takes the stage for the first time,” said Andrew Krimm, executive director of Boulder Symphony. “This is the time when the orchestra comes together – after many hours of practice and rehearsal – as a team to create a special experience for the audience. It is also a symbol of all the hard work it took to get through the past year as a community. “
All tickets are sold in tables of two, four or eight. Boulder Symphony has partnered with The Post Brewing Co. to provide attendees with a meal option. This supplement is $ 48 for a party of four and includes eight pieces of gluten-free fried chicken, two large sides, four buttermilk and cheddar cookies, and a Post beer round.
“What I look forward to the most from Thursday’s shows is the opportunity to collaborate with other musicians to bring such beautiful music to life,” said harpist Hillary Schefter. “You don’t realize how much you rely on your fellow orchestra members to give you a sense of grounding and community until you no longer have the opportunity to come together. Twenty-twenty was the longest hiatus I’ve had from playing live with an orchestra since I was in my early teens, so it was a weird time indeed.
Before the pandemic, much of Schefter’s days were spent at various events and weddings statewide. With COVID putting many in-person gatherings on hold, she thankfully had options to fall back on.
She and her husband, Benjamin Todd, were able to bring their food truck to neighborhoods and apartment complexes over the summer to help make up for lost income from Schefter’s gig work.
They have since transformed their mobile restaurant into a brick and mortar restaurant. Danger Zone Calzones – a fighter-themed restaurant inspired by Todd’s love of flying – opened Jan. 4 at 32 N. Broadway, Denver.
“The pandemic has certainly been interesting, as far as the food industry is concerned,” Schefter said. “Fortunately, our idea – even before the pandemic – emphasized fast take-out service and heavy delivery and that has certainly helped us over the past two months.”
As well as being a skilled harpist and restaurateur, Schefter is also an award-winning pole dancer and pole-dance instructor.
When she first heard the harp as a child, she described the experience as “love at first sight”.
“It’s a spectacular looking instrument, which is fun,” Schefter said. “But my favorite part is the sound. The tone of the instrument is so different from anything I have ever heard. It is unique and versatile. It can be gloomy or playful, triumphant or extremely melancholy. And I love playing rolled chords and arpeggios, the fast lines are so suited to the instrument that the arpeggio takes its name from the Italian word “arpeggiare”, which means “to play on a harp”.
Thursday’s shows kick off a series of performances of the Boulder Symphony at the Boulder Theater. Upcoming dates for the 11th season include “Ring In The Spring” on April 3rd, “Collage” on May 15th and “The Show Must Go On” on June 5th.
As soon as Krimm was hired last June, he and Hughes thought about ways to safely deliver live performances to fans and not rely on a purely virtual route to deliver entertainment.
“The Boulder Symphony Board, Devin conductor Patrick Hughes and I all thought it was important to keep live music alive throughout the pandemic,” Krimm said, noting that the group has co- presented the Boulder Arts Outdoors Festival, the Takacs Quartet and the annual Curiosity Concerts. “Our mission is to connect with, and deeply affect, the human spirit. We believe the best way to continue our mission is to provide a safe environment for our patrons and musicians to come together and enjoy world-class art in person.
Boulder Symphony is also teaming up with the Boulder Arts and Culture Office and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for an outdoor performance at the Boulder Bandshell in Central Park this summer, possibly July 4th.
“By far the most rewarding aspect has been finding ways to persevere and create live music experiences for our community,” said Krimm. “It was amazing talking with members of the public after our events and seeing the joy in their eyes and that maybe for an hour they forgot about COVID.”
While fans remain loyal, Boulder Symphony still feels the economic hardships of not being able to regularly put on shows at full capacity.
“The past 12 months have been extremely difficult for everyone in our community and we at Boulder Symphony are no different,” said Krimm. “We have seen a 55% drop in income because of the pandemic. This drop is not only due to our reduced ticket sales, but also because the amazing companies that support us are struggling as well. We have been forced to be creative in the way we raise funds. “
Currently, Boulder Symphony is holding a virtual auction to generate much needed funds. Almost 50 miscellaneous items range from signed “Star Wars” memorabilia and gift cards to Shine, Niwot Tavern, Boulder Cork, Sushi Zanmai, 1914 House and more.
Beatles fans have the opportunity to take home a framed album of “Abbey Road”, autographed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.
There’s even an option to bid on a fly fishing trip for two with solo violin and guide Keynes Chen. Also up for grabs is a dinner prepared personally by conductor Hughes, with matching cocktails crafted by Krimm.
“It was difficult to run an arts organization during the pandemic, but I wouldn’t give it up for the world,” Krimm said. “The Boulder Symphony team are amazing and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”