Florida Orchestra, persevering during the pandemic

Posted on: April 8, 2021

“A year after COVID interrupted our lives … Tampa Bay Area arts institutions persevere,” writes Jessi Smith in Tuesday’s (4/6) 83 Degrees (Florida). “ ‘When everything hit,’ says Florida Orchestra General Manager Edward Parsons, ‘we pretty quickly scrapped plans for the coming season…. We talked with epidemiologists, experts, and other orchestras. We researched what orchestras are doing around the world’ … The orchestra reduced its numbers in adherence to recommendations from studies on musicians’ aerosol production—and added a few extra feet of spacing between wind instrumentalists to be safe…. Currently, all performances take place at the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Pete, which operates at a 25% maximum capacity and keeps audience members strictly spaced at all times…. Florida Orchestra recently announced the third and final phase of its reimagined 2020-21 season [at] Mahaffey…. The orchestra has embraced film- and live-streaming technology as a direct result of the pandemic…. Since beginning to offer virtual performances for free to the public in 2020, Parsons notes the Florida Orchestra has seen an uptick in donations, … ‘a real testament to our community that we can keep going … and that we can provide music for the community through this,’ he says.”