Many Howard County concert halls are tentatively returning to in-person performances this month
October 6 — October marks the start of the concert season for many bands in Howard County. While some have hosted live performances outside or virtually last year, this season marks the first time since March 2020 that many have been able to perform in a concert hall due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the excitement is great.
“For people who enjoy listening to live music and for those who make it for a living, the past 17 months have been extremely difficult,” said Cynthia Fischer, Marketing Coordinator for Candlelight Concert Society, a nonprofit organization. lucrative Columbia-based company specializing in presenting chamber music ensembles and soloists. “It was sad without it. Music really boosts people’s morale.”
“People are dying to go out and relive the intimacy and magic of live entertainment,” said Jo Anne Yamaka, One World Coffeehouse volunteer at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center in Columbia. “I know I personally feel exhausted from streaming.”
The St. Louis Concert Series at St. Louis Church in Clarksville was the first to open its season with a Sunday performance by Washington-based vocal quartet The Polyphonists.
“It was wonderful, they paired perfectly with our 1889 chapel,” said Colleen Day Eberhardt, artistic director of the St. Louis Concert Series. “We were happy with the crowd. You could feel the stage presence in the chapel.”
The church hosted a “hybrid season” last year, Eberhardt said, with a mix of virtual and in-person concerts with limited seating in the main church. This year, with more people vaccinated, the series will take place not only in the main church, but in the social hall and in the historic small chapel, where Sunday’s concert took place.
“We can use more diverse groups to perform different types of music,” Eberhardt said. “We will have more concerts this year with different sizes.”
Upcoming St. Louis performances include the traditional holiday concert on December 12 and a Mardi Gras concert in New Orleans performed by US Army Blues Swamp Romp on February 25.
For the upcoming St. Louis concert on October 30, he is teaming up with the Candlelight Concert Society to present the East Coast Chamber Orchestra.
“This is our first partnership with them. We are also doing one with the Baltimore Concert Opera and the Columbia Orchestra,” Eberhardt said. “It helps reduce costs and expand our audience base and reach the community.”
Organizers of the Candlelight Concert Society said they were excited to partner with the St. Louis Concert Series to explore a new venue and present the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, a collective made up of some of the greatest chamber performers. and symphony from all over the country.
“ECCO is a great example of mixing new and classical music. New works that pay homage to great composers, ”said Fischer of the Candlelight Concert Society. “It’s another thing that sets us apart. We have tried and tested classics, but we also have a mix. We are entrepreneurs of new music.”
On Saturday Candlelight will open its season with performances by violinist Kristóf Baráti and Roman Rabinovich on the piano. The ECCO performance, in partnership with the St. Louis Concert Series, will follow on October 30, with the Candlelight season then resuming in January with a performance then held monthly through April.
“Most of the performances aren’t vocal or wind instruments,” Fischer said. “It will be someone who plays the piano.”
As its performances take place in various venues, including Linehan Hall at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, the Smith Theater at Howard Community College, and St. Louis Catholic Church, the company will follow all required COVID-19 protocols. in every venue, including using reserved seats for all but one performance – the ECCO performance at St. Louis Catholic Church, Fischer said.
“We’ve never done this before,” Fischer said. “People will buy their tickets before they come to pick their seats.”
One World Coffeehouse in Colombia will offer a whole new setup when it hosts its first live performance since the pandemic on Friday. Famous and prolific folk singer-songwriter David Wilcox will perform. Instead of its traditional cafe style, with chairs around tables near the stage, the cafe will feature seating in theater-style rows, with no tables. There will also be no food to sell as in the past, Yamaka said.
“It will be very different in terms of configuration,” said Yamaka. “In terms of wonderful entertainment, we always deliver the same quality.”
All performers and room staff are vaccinated, Yamaka said. While Wilcox will not be wearing a mask during the performance, all members of the audience will be required to do so during the concert, she said. Tickets will be sold online only, not at the door, and a live broadcast of the concert will also be available.
“It’s new to us,” Yamaka said. “People can watch in real time until the last minute.”
Wilcox is the only show the cafe will be presenting this year, Yamaka said, and more are expected in 2022 depending on the pandemic.
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“Usually we have 11 shows, one a month,” Yamaka said. “I keep my fingers crossed for January.”
The Columbia Orchestra will perform as a full ensemble for the first time since the October 16 pandemic with its return concert.
“We did summer concerts and small group concerts,” said Executive Director Katherine Keefe. “It’s amazing to get the whole group together and to hear this full sound.”
All members of the orchestra have been urged to get vaccinated or take time off, Keefe said. They will also wear masks when they do not perform.
“It was the best thing to do for everyone’s safety,” Keefe said. “We are reserving sections of the room for social distancing.”
Upcoming performances include a performance of “The Planets” on December 4th, Les Pins de Rome on February 5th and the band’s popular Symphonic Pops concert on March 12th and 13th. The season ends with Mahler’s First on May 21.