Music is all about coming back. About musical shapes that begin somewhere, take you somewhere else, then return to where they began. About melodies, harmonies, and rhythms that recur again and again in a composition. About favorite pieces that re-appear every few years.
And now—finally—in October 2021, music is about actually coming back. About returning to full-length concerts after a year of streams and short programs designed for back-to-back hybrid performances. About sitting close to each other onstage again—or at least closer than when we were spread out six to eight feet apart. About playing in a traditional setup instead of my crazy (but effective) put-the-orchestra-in-the-round-so-no-one’s-too-far-from-the-podium scheme.
Then there’s you!
You coming back to concerts is the biggest and
best thing of all.
Last Fall, all of us in your DPO were happy to be playing again, even if only for cameras and microphones recording us for streaming release. We got used to it, but it just didn’t feel right playing to an empty hall.
Then, on New Year’s Eve, we had a tiny audience of friends, family, and staff who were there to help the Schuster Center team gear up for the return of live audiences at the end of January. You’d think that going from nobody in the hall to 20 listeners wouldn’t make much of a difference.
Think again. It made all the difference
in the world.
Even with a tiny audience, everyone onstage seemed to relax. The bizarre pressure brought on by microphones and cameras evaporated. The equipment was still there, of course, to record performances for the folks streaming at home. But knowing that there were real people listening made us feel more at home. Made us play better. And with more feeling.
As audiences grew from show to show in the Winter and Spring our spirits improved. Our music-making, too. Out there in the seats (or out there watching at home) you might think playing concerts is just about playing the music and collaborating with our colleagues onstage.
But it’s not. It’s about YOU. About the energy you bring to the performance. About your applause. About our performance making a difference in your lives. About touching your hearts. About inspiring your imagination. About knowing you’re out there listening even though everyone’s way too busy to look at you (and I’ve got my back to you).
Of course, COVID has come back, too. With a vengeance. Especially for folks who haven’t gotten vaccinated. So if you haven’t done it yet, please do. For yourself, for your family and friends, and for the music. We need an audience to play for. A healthy audience.
Let’s make a big comeback.
~ Neal Gittleman, Artistic Director and Conductor