‘All of us could use a little bit of joy’: The Spokane Symphony and friends ring in the new year with a virtual concert

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Symphony is once again holding its annual New Year’s Eve concert, but things will be different than years past.

“We always have a New Year’s Eve concert featuring a performance of Beethoven’s 9th by our chorale followed by a wonderful party over at the Davenport,” said President of the board Elizabeth Kelley. “Needless to say, we cannot do that this year.”

Just like most events in 2020, the Symphony is going virtual.

In fact, the musicians have already recorded the entire performance and it will be available on-demand on New Year’s Eve.

“There is something for everyone. A little bit of Beethoven, a little bit of Mozart, a little bit of Tchaikovsky,” said Kelley.

Because of COVID-19, a smaller ensemble was put together for the performance and rehearsals were in short spurts with longer breaks.

“Now because of the regulations, we can play for an hour and then we have to have a half an hour break in between for the air space to clear,” said concertmaster and lead violin Mateusz Wolski.

And with the Symphony’s musical director in Scotland, Wolski worked with him remotely and led the orchestra from the first violin chair.

“The fact that we are able to get together and do this was just absolutely magnificent and I think everybody involved was in really high spirits and we all had a great time,” said Wolski.

Even while following special guidelines, all the musicians involved felt at home again on the Fox stage.

Including Spokane singer-songwriter Cami Bradley, who performed three songs with the Symphony.

“We’ve really, really missed live music,” said Bradley. “We’ve missed the connection with people. We’ve missed being in the room with other musicians. So honestly just to walk into the Fox and have other musicians on stage was like *sigh* this is what it feels like, you know, you just miss every piece of that.”

The concert will have other special guests too, including Spokane author Jess Walter, who will share an inspirational message with viewers for the new year.

“All of us could use a little bit of joy. I think this performance brings that. There’s a specialness to it and a uniqueness to it,” said Bradley.

Even though the performance isn’t in person, those who are part of it hopes every person get something good from it to bring into the new year.

“We want to play music for you,” said Wolski. “This is what we are made for and we see our role in the communities to bring a smile and joy to your faces and lift you up when the times are tough.”

The New Year’s Eve concert premieres at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31 and will be available to watch through Jun. 30, 2021.

Tickets are $20 per household and free for healthcare workers and people who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

Details on how to get your tickets can be found here on the Spokane Symphony website.

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