West Michigan Symphony pivots to virtual 2020; in-person performances planned for 2021

Posted on: December 22, 2020

“Arts-focused nonprofits were largely forced to close their doors for several months in 2020, gradually reopening with occupancy limits and new safety regulations,” writes Marla Miller in Sunday’s (12/20) West Michigan Business News (Grand Rapids). “Arts leaders responded by moving programs and concerts to a virtual format…. West Michigan Symphony … moved concerts online. The live performances are recorded at the Frauenthal Theater, and subscribers and paid ticket holders receive an access code to watch for a limited time…. The symphony will continue with the virtual format until it is safe to gather indoors for live concerts—something president and CEO Andy Buelow hopes resumes later this spring or by fall. But … ‘We’re looking at this at an opportunity to operate in some new ways going forward,’ Buelow said, noting he received an email from a patron in Arizona who watched ‘Home for the Holidays’ online because they go south for the winter…. The symphony scaled back its orchestra ensembles and reduced other expenses…. ‘We weathered 2019-20 just fine, but 2020-21 is going to be harder,’ … he said. ‘The longer this drags on, the more challenging it becomes.’ ” Also covered are several other West Michigan-based nonprofit organizations.