Health protocols in place, Mobile Symphony returns to the stage

Posted on: October 22, 2020

Music Director Scott Speck and the Mobile Symphony Orchestra in rehearsal on October 16, 2020. Photo by Lawrence Specker

“On the stage of the Mobile Saenger Theatre, where the Mobile Symphony Orchestra is preparing for its first performance since March, things do not look normal at all,” writes Lawrence Specker in Monday’s (10/19) (Alabama). “Instead of facing 60 or 70 players, MSO Music Director Speck is facing 30. All play strings…. All are masked, as is Speck…. Finding a way to make a live performance feasible … required major changes…. The length of the [Oct. 17-18] performances was cut to under an hour…. The number of performances was doubled to balance out an aggressive capacity reduction that left about 400 seats available out of more than 1,900…. MSO President and CEO Celia Baehr later reports that the four shows drew a total of 1,022 in-person ticketholders…. ‘It’s so wonderful to see you,’ Speck says, before launching into a piece he describes as ‘pure joy,’ Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major. From there it moves into … Barber’s ‘dagio for Strings, which Speck says is an acknowledgement both of the exposed racial injustice … in 2020 and of the work of African-American composers, and then even deeper into Walker’s Lyric for Strings [performed as] a tribute to those lost to the pandemic.”