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Wichita Symphony Orchestra Announces Plans For Fall 2020

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The reimagined season includes digital performance opportunities, community outreach initiatives, and live, in-person concerts.

Following a season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, the Wichita Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is ready to announce plans for their fall, 2020 season. The reimagined season includes digital performance opportunities, community outreach initiatives, and live, in-person concerts with limited, socially distanced audiences. All details can be found at WichitaSymphony.org.

Fall 2020 Concerts

The WSO announced its original plans for the 2020-2021 season in February. After being forced to cancel March, April, and May performances, the WSO knew they would have to make plans for a new reality that included socially distanced performances on stage, in the audience, and make room for digital performances viewable at home.

While the previously announced Masterworks concert weekends will remain the same, there will be new programming that features smaller orchestra sizes that can spread out on stage. Although the WSO normally performs on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, the live performances will be limited to one performance per concert weekend.

Full programming can be viewed at the end of this news release.

Whether they are experiencing it live or online, Music Director and Conductor Daniel Hege's approach to the reimagined season is one that will still be an exciting musical experience for concertgoers. "We may have fewer musicians on stage, but the Orchestra will pack just as much punch. We have amazing musicians that are chomping at the bit for the opportunity to perform again."

The WSO will have three ways in which the public can enjoy performances this season:

Introducing WSO Connect

WSO Connect is a new digital membership that allows its users to view Wichita Symphony performances on-demand from home. Fall concerts will be released for WSO Connect members one week following a live performance for a 30 day viewing period (see live performance dates and programming at the end of this news release). The performance can be watched multiple times within the designated viewing period.

Other benefits of WSO Connect include first access to attend performances in-person at a discounted rate (see below), exclusive digital content from Maestro Daniel Hege and WSO musicians, and exclusive access to other performance opportunities, such as one-on-one performances with solo WSO members.

The cost for the new membership is $150 per household, and is valid for the entirety of the 2020-2021 season.* WSO Connect memberships can be purchased at WichitaSymphony.org. Current subscribers will be notified by the WSO Box Office regarding their options and how to exchange their subscription for a membership.

In-Person Concerts

The WSO will present three in-person, socially distanced concerts in the fall of 2020 (spring concert schedule TBA*). Concerts will take place Saturday, October 24; Saturday, November 14; and Sunday, December 6. Full programming can be viewed at the end of this news release.

First access to attend concerts in person will be given to WSO Connect members at a discounted rate, and will later be made available to the general public.

While Century II Concert Hall can usually fit 2,100 people, socially distanced renderings reveal that 300 patrons can safely sit in the hall. Given the structure of the HVAC system, the balcony will remain closed. All audience members will be required to wear a mask.

"The safety of our musicians and our patrons is paramount," says CEO Don Reinhold. "We have been communicating with our Orchestra, Century II Staff, and the Sedgwick County Health Department to ensure we are taking every precaution."

Community Outreach Performances

The WSO's focus on community outreach remains an important staple of the Orchestra's operations during the pandemic. Community Engagement and Education Manager Tiffany Bell Rhodes is working with local partners to ensure there are opportunities to hear live music throughout Wichita, including an initiative with the Parks and Recreation department in which smaller ensembles comprised of Wichita Symphony musicians will perform at public parks across the city. These performances will take place September 26 and October 3, and are free for the public to attend. There will be six performances per day, and October 10 is being held as a rain date.

Bell Rhodes is also working to bring digital programming into the schools to continue a decades-long program: Young People's Concerts. "It simply isn't safe to bring 12,000 kids to Century II right now, but we want to ensure that Wichita teachers still have custom programming from the WSO to engage their students in the magic of orchestral performances," says Bell Rhodes.


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