Safety first: Billings Symphony moves to digital season, following Sept. in-person concerts

Posted on: November 24, 2020

Music Director Anne Harrigan conducts the Billings Symphony Orchestra’s season-opening concert at Lockwood Performing Arts Center in Montana, September 26, 2020.

“In September, the Billings Symphony Orchestra performed its first concert of the season to a live audience,” writes Anna Paige in Friday’s (11/20) Billings Gazette (MT). “ ‘We were very satisfied with how everything went,’ said Ignacio Barrón Viela, the symphony’s executive director. Across three performances, more than 450 people enjoyed live symphonic music from the new auditorium at Lockwood High School…. Given the accelerating number of COVID-19 cases in Yellowstone County … the organization decided in early October to halt all in-person events…. The Billings Symphony set up a health and safety taskforce [chaired by] Julie Johnson, violinist with the symphony…. Johnson is also a physician…. The ‘linchpin’ of the plan, Johnson said, has been selecting Lockwood High School’s new performing arts center, which has seating for more than 700 people and a top-notch ventilation system [as well as] plenty of space for separate warm-up areas…. Livestreaming events … ‘is opening doors for us to get followers,’ Barrón Viela said…. Performances … are planned at three venues: Lockwood Performing Arts Center, the Billings Depot, and the Babcock Theatre…. The hope is to return to in-person concerts; however, at this point concerts are only available via digital streaming.”