As the Elgin Symphony Orchestra looks ahead to resuming its season in 2021, it is dazzling the ear now with its Listeners Club, and plans a variety of events including a live outdoor concert, a virtual gala benefit and a 5K.
The next session of the Listeners Club will begin at 7 p.m. Aug. 24, with Mickey Thomas Terry, professor of music from Howard University, a news release stated. For details, visit www.ElginSymphony.org.
Throughout the summer, the ESO staff has worked with the gala committee on its Virtual Fundraising Gala set for Sunday, Aug. 30.
The theme of the gala is "Honor the Past, Embrace the Future," and includes an online auction of local treasures and exclusive private performance experiences featuring ESO musicians, and a live virtual event hosted by ESO Music Director Andrew Grams.
Bidding begins at 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, and concludes at 3 p.m. Aug. 30. The live event, beginning at noon, will showcase conversations with a few favorite guest artists from the past 70 seasons of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and includes an opportunity to watch Andrew Grams and Cleveland Orchestra flutist Saeran St. Christopher perform together.
Also planned is the ESO's Virtual 5K: Run with Beethoven. Join the ESO community and run or walk your own 5K starting Saturday, Sept. 5 through Saturday, Sept.12.
The ESO will provide a suggested route through Elgin for the run/walk, or you can choose your own. It also will provide a Beethoven running play list on Spotify to listen to while you participate, curated by Maestro Grams.
Run or walk the distance anywhere: in your neighborhood or on a treadmill, invites the ESO. All levels of participation are welcome. Track your time and compete with others in our Strava club (available on the registration site), complete the race on your own time, or just register and collect your T-shirt.
Registration costs $40 and includes a T-shirt. All proceeds will benefit the ESO’s Crescendo Campaign, which is designed to support the operations of the ESO and ensure its continued security and vitality during and after the pandemic crisis, the release stated. Registration will run through Sept. 4. See elginsymphony.org/eso5k for details.
Live music at Symphony on the Farm
Join the ESO for a magical, socially distanced evening of music on the farm at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard in Pingree Grove. It will feature Maestro Andrew Grams, guest artist Philippe Quint and Elgin Symphony Orchestra musicians.
The concert program will offer George Walker's "Lyric for Strings"; Jules Massenet's "Meditation From Thaïs"; Pablo de Sarasate's "Zigeunerweisen," op. 20; and Franz Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 60 (“Il Distratto”).
No in-person or walk-up box office will be available. Tickets are offered via phone or online only, and reservations are required in advance. Day-of sales are not available. There is a ticket limit of four per household, and it is recommended that only persons in the same household sit together.
It also will be offered Saturday, Sept. 12, at The Haight in Elgin. There will be a very limited number of tickets available to these performances, but streaming tickets will be available for purchase.
The ESO is postponing its programming this calendar year, which includes the season opening concert of "Beethoven 9," followed by "The Music of Journey & Queen" and the annual holiday concert.
"During the past several months, we have been monitoring the global conversation around public health as it pertains to concerts and large gatherings. Facing the prospect of a hall that will remain closed through the end of the calendar year (or open to an audience of no more than 50), we have made the difficult decision to cancel all programming currently planned up to Dec. 31, 2020," Erik Malmquist, executive director of the ESO, said in a news release.
The ESO has been working on creating alternative concert opportunities in new venues which will allow for social distancing, as well as offering the option for livestreaming so patrons may enjoy from their homes.
"While this is difficult news for us as an organization, we hope to use these intervening two months between the cancellation and what was to have been 'Beethoven 9' to work on safer, smaller-scale events that will keep our audience engaged and the Elgin Symphony playing in a safe and responsible way," Malmquist said.
"The impact of COVID-19 on the arts and those who create it has been immeasurable, but we will not let this be the end. The fall will look very different, but by being flexible, staying active, staying engaged and adapting to the cultural moment, we will do everything we can to use this time to give the organization renewed purpose and direction," he said.