The music may be on pause. But while the band might not play on at the moment, the Hernando Symphony Orchestra does plan on doing so soon. Covid-19 has resulted in the cancelation of seven symphony concerts thus far, two in April, one in October, two in December, and two in February. Also canceled is an annual event at which HSO generally performs. "I received notification that the annual Art in the Park festival has been canceled by the Arts Council for this year," wrote Michele DiLuzio, HSO conductor, in an update letter to orchestra supporters. "As you know, we have performed at this annual event in March for the past 6 years. Let’s hope we can return to some type of normalcy soon."
In the meantime, the orchestra is making plans to render their performances safer and their orchestra larger. "Your musicians are preparing by purchasing special masks made for musicians, that will allow for the wearing of a special mask with a small opening to allow for the instrument mouthpiece to be inserted while the mask is in place," wrote DiLuzio, HSO conductor. "In addition, they are also purchasing instrument bell covers to further protect each other and our audience. When we are able to resume rehearsing, all musicians and myself will be masked throughout rehearsals and concerts. Masks will also have to be worn by anyone attending concerts."
In addition, the orchestra is expanding to include six new members:
Here are the newest members of the HSO.
Chloe Avril - Violin
Allison Carroll - Clarinet
Bethany Carr - Violin
Cameron Tilson - French Horn
Danielle Shelton - Clarinet
Sally Finney Timm - Oboe
"The orchestra is thrilled to welcome these talented musicians to the family," wrote DiLuzio. She stresses that, while the orchestra does not actively request donations during these trying times, community support is always appreciated. To find out how you can support HSO, visit their website.
"We have lost a great deal of revenue from these cancelations. Having to switch venues has added an extra $150 monthly expense of a storage unit to safely store all of our equipment," she said. "We also still have our normal operating expenses that must still be paid each month, music and equipment to be purchased, etc. I understand that the current health situation has taken its toll on everyone, both personally and professionally. Donations to the orchestra are always welcomed and appreciated. We look to businesses and individuals for donations of items for our raffles, monetary donations for Gift of Music subscriptions, or just general donations. We truly appreciate our patrons and community for supporting us for the past 38 years and we look forward to being able to begin our season as soon as we are permitted."