The Abilene Youth Orchestra, like almost every other organization, looks different this season. The Abilene Philharmonic has remained committed to the mission of providing excellent performance and educational opportunities for advanced young musicians in the Big Country through a full orchestra experience.
AYO’s fall concert will be presented virtually on the AYO website on 11/16/2020 at 7pm from Cullen Auditorium. It will be AYO’s first performance since the pandemic began, featuring works by Beethoven, Elgar, Gliére, and music from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The priorities of a continuing season and safety for its students have been tandem goals of AYO and its parent organization, the Abilene Philharmonic. The students meet every Sunday at 2:30pm, where they play in a socially distanced seating arrangement, wear players’ masks, and take frequent breaks to allow proper air circulation in the room. Abilene Christian University administration took great steps to help ensure the mitigation of COVID-19 transmission on their campus, and AYO is a grateful beneficiary. In addition to researching the amount of air circulated by the HVAC system in order to set rehearsal length, portable HEPA filters with UV light were installed in rehearsal rooms in the Williams Performing Arts Center.
“Our mission was to get the students back to playing,” said APO Education Coordinator, Abigail Payne. “These students have had to go through a lot, and we hope the AYO provided an escape from the stress of today’s climate.”
The Abilene Philharmonic feels very confident about the rehearsal and performance protocols put in place to maximize the safety of the members of the Abilene Youth Orchestra and is thrilled that AYO, led by Dr. Steven Ward, will be able to present a virtual live concert in spite of the challenges that the academic year has presented.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of this Fall semester.” said Dr. Ward, “Because the Spring semester ended so abruptly, we weren’t sure if there was going to be a Fall semester. These students love playing music and it shows.”