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Steamboat Springs Orchestra comes out of hibernation with live performance

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After a long hiatus, the Steamboat Springs Orchestra will be performing live this weekend for its dedicated fans while also livestreaming the concert to help raise money for the arts.

“The Steamboat Symphony Orchestra is at the vanguard of orchestras around the world beginning the process of returning to live performances of orchestral music,” said Music Director and Conductor Ernest Richardson. “This is a remarkable place to be, considering that some leading orchestras with annual budgets in the millions have postponed their season to January or cancelled an entire season of concerts.”

Richardson calls the “SOS Aglow” concert an act of bravery and optimism that will give the community a lift.

With social distancing restraints, the orchestra was forced to look for a different way to bring music back to the people as the pandemic continues, and that’s where Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp came in.

The camp, located in beautiful Strawberry Park, offered up the Louis Horst Studio, a structure that opens on three sides.

“The meadow would be large enough to accommodate a small, distanced audience,” said Steamboat Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Jennifer Robinson.

The studio will fit a 15-person string orchestra, and Perry-Mansfield will bring in professional dancers to perform with the musicians.

“This will be one of the first live performances since COVID-19 that is happening across the country,” said Tamara Dyke-Compton, co-director of dance at Perry-Mansfield.

“It’s so important to keep the arts alive at this time, and Steamboat is ahead of the curve, finding ways to continue live performances,” she said.

Artists Chula Beauregard and Sue Oehme work on the art installation that will be part of this weekend’s SSO Aglow concert at Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp.
Jennifer Lee Robinson/courtesy

To top off the orchestra’s live debut this season, two of Steamboat’s finest artists will have their work intertwined through an on-site art installation. In a nod to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” being performed by the orchestra, master printer Sue Oehme will weave her colorful modern artwork in and around the work of classic painter Chula Beauregard. The installation will hang on the outer building for patrons to enjoy as they listen to the concert and watch dancers perform live.

Richardson’s choice for music directly relates to 2020’s indelible images and wounds that have been left on the American psyche.

The orchestra will begin with Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.”

“For me, this music represents our love for our community, a journey out of the icy hibernation of isolation into the warmth of community,” Richardson said.

The string orchestra will also perform George Walker’s Lyric for Strings. Walker was the first Black composer to receive the Pulitzer Prize for music.

“In this music, I believe we have the opportunity to mourn the real loss of people we love, the businesses we’ve built … we seek the healing touch,” Richardson said.

Both shows of 50 guests are sold out Saturday and Sunday, but people can livestream the event at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at form.jotform.com/202546947074158.

Posters with Oehme’s and Beauregard’s art will also be sold to help raise funds for Perry-Mansfield and the Steamboat Springs Orchestra. They can be bought at chulabeauregard.com/product-category/steamboat-symphony-orchestra-poster-sale.

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

 


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