EAU CLAIRE — The Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra is celebrating this season of growth and renewal with “Awakening,” a virtual concert that premieres at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 8.
The concert, which is conducted by Nobuyoshi Yasuda and performed by a string ensemble of CVSO musicians, can be viewed for free at cvsymphony.org and will remain available following the premiere.
On the program are the following works:
• Sinfonia in G Major by Antonio Vivaldi.
• Little Suite for Strings: Intermezzo by Carl Nielsen.
• Adoration by Florence Price.
• Serenade for Strings: III. Elegy by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
• St. Paul Suite: IV. Finale by Gustav Holst.
The concert title, “Awakening”, felt fitting as so many musicians have been making music in isolation during the pandemic. “How wonderfully we feel to play music together again,” Yasuda says in a news release. “It is like waking up to the joyful sound of music after long hibernation.”
Principal violin II Molly Malone is eager to be part of the ensemble after a year away.
“You don’t realize how much something means to you until it’s gone,” Malone says in the release. “Playing in a group is something that I’ve always enjoyed, but when a few of us church musicians got together to record for Easter last month, it was amazing how full my heart felt — and how much I had missed making music with people. I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to perform in a larger group, as this will be the first time since last March.”
This “CVSO Condensed” concert features a smaller group of musicians and a shorter concert length than a typical Chippewa Valley Symphony concert. The shorter program --about 30 minutes of music — makes it possible for the group to prepare without lengthy rehearsals. And choosing music played only by strings allows musicians to be masked during the entirety of rehearsals and the performance.
The concert will take place in the Great Hall at Christ Church Cathedral, which provides not only a beautiful, historic setting but also plenty of space for musicians to spread out. The group of 20 players is the largest group CVSO will convene this season, but it is still small enough that musicians can stay safely distanced within the space.
Principal cello Susan Halderman is happy to have a change of pace after a year of practicing and teaching in small rooms. “After breaking my bow and getting my cello banged up while teaching online lessons in tight spaces during the past year, it is wonderful to play my instrument on a ‘stage’ with people and for people,” she says in the release.
Éva Tibbetts, who plays principal viola in the concert, is also looking forward to playing for an audience. “As musicians we have chosen a profession that brings enjoyment to our audience,” she says in the release. “Playing and practicing in our own homes does not bring much satisfaction besides getting prepared. But our goal is to play music together and entertain our audience. That is the core of music and being a musician.” She sums up the feeling of being a musician during the pandemic as “like being a bird without wings.”