President's Message

Welcome to the Symphony!

We miss you!

We are now several months into the COVID-19 Pandemic and yet many of us are still wondering, “What’s Next?” and “Where do we go from here?” Although our board has made the difficult decision to cancel our traditional concerts through January 2021, we must now deal with the financial realties and other difficulties of being shuttered.

One advantage of being a community orchestra is that we can look to the community we serve for guidance, support and developing best-practices. Many of our decisions will be informed by the venues where we play, however, Performing Arts have unique challenges for both the audience and musicians. For that perspective, we are turning to several resources who are collaborating with similar organizations as ours.

Prior to the Pandemic, The West Hartford Arts and Culture Collaborative had been meeting to help raise awareness and support for all arts organizations in the community. During the early days of quarantine, WHSO met virtually with about 10 other local organizations who were all facing similar challenges. Initially we supported each other by learning about Federal subsidies and identifying challenges. Since then, we have continued working together to access COVID specific resources and information. This collaboration has allowed us to join in informational webinars and from time to time, pick up the phone and call our peers with questions.

So, where are we today and what do we know for certain? WHSO has established a committee comprised of musicians and board members who are helping us chart our future. We are also participating in webinars with The Shoreline Arts Alliance which brings resources from Yale in both infectious disease and air quality where we are learning about practical applications for safe large gatherings like concerts. Just like you’ve noticed changes at the grocery store and at banks or other businesses, things will be a little different when we finally get together. In addition to a greater focus on online ticketing, you might see both musicians and audience spread out to encourage social distancing. Many other suggestions such as shorter concerts, less time spent in the lobby and less congested ways of entering or exiting the concert hall are all being explored.

Although we have no specific plans as to when and how we will reopen, we do want you to know that WHSO is looking at everything from the perspective of keeping you, our audience and our musicians, safe as we enjoy live classical music together. In the meantime, we have created a way to enjoy music and get to know our musicians better through WHSO’s Virtual Fidelity series of online performances, which is a collection newly created performance from our musicians during the quarantine

While you visit whso.org, please consider a gift to the orchestra. Although our revenue came to an abrupt halt in March, many of our expenses including rent, insurance, and other operating expenses continued. Your tax deductible contributions will help us to continue with our mission of bringing the community together through music!

-Tom

Thomas Caraher
President, West Hartford Symphony Orchestra