SEATTLE – The Seattle Symphony and Benaroya Hall are celebrating the return of in-person performances, presenting a free community concert to mark the start of the 2021-2022 season.
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the Seattle Symphony returns to Benaroya Hall and is once again welcoming guests for in-person concerts.
“What you really must feel is this connection with someone else,” said Krishna Thiagarajan, CEO and President of Seattle Symphony and Benaroya Hall. “It’s a place where no matter what you believe in, we can all come together and hear a piece of music and enjoy it the same way.”
For the past 18 months, the symphony has used online streaming to continue bringing music to its customers, but only a small portion of the 94-person orchestra has been able to participate.
“Every week was a different fight because we really didn’t know how long the pandemic would last,” Thiagarajan said. “We were given a mandate to shut it down – we thought a few weeks, we thought maybe a few months… it turned into six months, it turned into a year, it turned into 18 month.”
Now, by adhering to strict safety standards, Thiagarajan has said the nonprofit can return to concerts in person, just in time for its 2021-2022 season.
“I believe Seattle has the energy, the creativity and the compassion to move forward after [the pandemic] in a way we couldn’t even imagine. I believe that we are all going to come together and build a much more exciting and wonderful future, and that nothing can slow us down, ”Thiagarajan said with a smile.
At Benaroya Hall, several adjustments were made, including an air ventilation system (HVAC), improved cleaning procedures, hand sanitizer stations and contact tracing.
“We use this ability to improvise a lot, and at the same time we very, very strictly follow all guidelines to make sure that health and safety is always present,” Thiagarajan said.
Musicians are required to be fully vaccinated and to wear masks (if they are not using their mouths to play their instrument). Those who cannot wear a mask are left behind on stage.
“We’re together again, you’ll see everyone wearing masks, but they’re so happy doing what they’re trained to do. For them, it is a vocation, they wake up every morning wanting to share their music with the public, ”said Thiagarajan.
Participants in the event must present proof of full vaccination, proof of a negative PCR test performed within 48 hours of the start time of performance, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test performed within 24 hours after the performance start time. Customers are also required to wear masks and must sign a waiver when purchasing the ticket.
The festivities continue Sunday at 2 p.m. with a free community concert and the unveiling of an Indigenous art installation honoring the Symphony’s use of Duwamish Tribe lands.
Some shows are also available online for free, including the Seattle Symphony Opening Night concert.
The festivities continue Sunday at 2 p.m. with a free community concert and the unveiling of an Indigenous art installation, honoring the Symphony’s use of Duwamish Tribe lands.
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