PEI

No full orchestra concerts for 2020, but P.E.I. Symphony shows will go on

Usually there are full orchestra concerts in October and November, but those had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.

Smaller chamber orchestra concerts planned

There will be two chamber orchestra shows put on by the P.E.I. Symphony at the Confederation Centre Oct. 4 and Nov. 22. (Furtseff/Shutterstock)

Islanders will not be getting full orchestra shows live in 2020 due to COVID-19.

However, the P.E.I. Symphony will be putting on smaller chamber orchestra performances this season.

"This year is very unusual in that we really are not doing any season subscriptions at all, because things are very much still up in the air," Bruce Craig, president of the P.E.I. Symphony told Mainstreet P.E.I. host Matt Rainnie.

Usually there are full orchestra concerts in October and November, but Craig said those had to be cancelled.

"We don't have the space on stage to be able to accommodate a full orchestra. So what we have done, we've pared it down to two chamber music concerts," he said.

The P.E.I. Symphony will air a pre-recorded performance at the Brackley Drive-In featuring Island musician Tara MacLean. (Stasia Garraway)

Those shows will be at the Confederation Centre on Oct. 4 and Nov. 22.

"How many people are going to be able to go to this — we really don't know," Craig said.

"We're expecting probably about 100, maybe a change in the number of people who can actually go to these concerts. We're hoping to see it go up to 150."

There are two full orchestra concerts scheduled for 2021, for Feb. 28 and April 18 — but Craig said he is uncertain the concerts will happen.

The real challenge is going to be going forward in the next couple of years.— Bruce Craig, P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra

"We're hoping to see the full orchestra back, but who knows. We may have to switch over to some more chamber music instead," Craig said.

Orchestras across the country are struggling financially, Craig said.

"We can't do any fundraising in our traditional method of doing annual dinners," he said, adding the government has been supportive.

Next season?

He said he isn't too worried about the upcoming season because it is cheaper to put on chamber concerts versus full orchestra shows, which typically cost more than $35,000.

"The real challenge is going to be going forward in the next couple of years, because you are not really sure how many people are going to resubscribe after a year of not being able to get any season tickets," he said, adding he believes the organization is up to the challenge.

The P.E.I. Symphony will air a pre-recorded performance at the Brackley Drive-In featuring Tara MacLean and Magdalena von Eccher on Monday evening.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.

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