SPRINGFIELD, Mo- As an industry with the sole purpose of gathering people to play and listen to music, COVID-19 has caused a caesura in the Springfield Symphony’s 2019-2020 season.
Symphony Conductor Kyle Wiley Pickett says this pandemic has an impact on the musicians that the general public may not realize.
“What we do as a function is gather people together, obviously we’re playing music but the point of having live concerts is to gather a bunch of people in your community, gather your musicians together and do a performance. This obviously stops us in our tracks,” says Pickett.
Since the symphony had to cancel its season, the musicians turned to social media to perform songs for their online audience.
Pickett says they have also been posting, on the symphony Facebook page, old concerts that people can listen to in full.
Pickett himself is also posting videos with music recommendations both classical and mainstream, this week he is recommending Ella Fitzgerald.
He is concerned financially about the musicians performing shows was a way of income for the players.
“The Springfield Symphony, like most orchestras in the United States, we are called a per-service orchestra, which means the players are contracted to us and they only get paid when they play,” he says. Most of the players have other jobs as music teachers and have had to learn like normal teachers how to use technology to conduct their lessons.
Pickett says the symphony will be fine and have a season coming up due to sponsors of previously closed shows telling the symphony to keep the money during this time. Pickett says that he was hard at work on the 2020-2021 season until the COVID-19 pandemic came and he scrapped that idea and started new.
“I am actually of replanning this season, you know the term comfort foods. I’m going for a comfort food type of season for next year. It’s not dumbed down, it’s just pieces that are popular, pieces that are familiar. You’ll know these pieces of music,” he says.
The Springfield Symphony also had to cancel their fundraising gala at the end of each season but there will be a Facebook Live fundraiser this Saturday, April 18th from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The symphony also was able to reschedule a massive collaboration concert about the Civil War in Missouri.
“I’m excited about just getting back out and playing music again for people in Springfield.”