Rock Hill Symphony music director steps down to protest absence of COVID rules for audiences

Posted on: November 23, 2021

“The conductor and music director at the Rock Hill Symphony Orchestra is out, in protest over COVID-19 safety precautions,” writes John Mark in Friday’s (11/19) Herald (Rock Hill, SC). “David Rudge, appointed to those inaugural roles in 2018, issued a statement Thursday afternoon expressing concerns that there won’t be masks or safety precautions mandated for audience members for the rest of the season. ‘This was one of the most difficult decisions of my professional life, but my vision and sense of responsibility for the well-being of everyone involved, was not shared by the majority of the board,’ Rudge said. Rudge said the refusal of the board to require masks for audience members comes as other orchestras in South Carolina either require them or vaccinations of attendees. Rudge states concern for unsafe working conditions for musicians and staff, and audience safety…. The symphony board released a statement Thursday that it voted the night prior to accept Rudge’s resignation…. The symphony website offers guidelines for audience members. Masks are strongly encouraged…. A holiday concert will come Dec. 11. Elisa Koehler is the listed conductor for that show.”