The COVID-19 Era
The Post Pandemic Era During the pandemic performance hiatus between March, 2020 and our return to the stage on December 11 th , 2021, the North Bay Symphony Orchestra underwent significant changes. Unable to perform - or even practice together, our musical director Thomas Jones, organized a large-scale recording project for Christmas 2020. Approximately 80 musicians (choir members and instrumentalists) were encouraged to record their part while listening to a ‘click’ track. These tracks were combined into one digital presentation (Ave Verum). He later searched out a piece of technology allowing the musicians to practice and perform in real-time, from their own homes. This technology was JamKazam – for which audio interface kits needed to be purchased. This was made possible by the generous financial donation of loyal supporters.
This enabled our musicians to create five “virtual’ pieces of music (June, 2021) which were made available for viewing on our website.
The question became “when and under what circumstances will the NBSO be able to take the stage?” There were many hurdles to overcome, including of course the continual threat of changing restrictions with regard to the pandemic. A decision had to be made whether to proceed with a Christmas concert. Decisions like this have to be made months in advance. This was a risky decision from a financial perspective. The co-vid threat never disappeared and influenced the production. It was a one-hour show with no interval and only included strings. We could not include brass, woodwinds or percussion. This was very limiting in terms of developing repertoire. Even the simplest details proved challenging… for example, could we even find billets for out-of-town musicians coming in to perform in the middle of a pandemic?
However, it all came together… both live and in an on-line streamed format – also a first for the NBSO!
This is what it looked like: