Wenatchee Valley Symphony virtual concert

The Wenatchee Valley Symphony Orchestra in October livestreamed its first concert of the season. More virtual concerts are scheduled, including performances on March 6 and April 10. Go to wenatcheesymphony.org for details.

The pandemic is really putting the financial hurt on nonprofit organizations as well as ordinary businesses. I was reminded of this in a recent conversation with Ron Bermingham, the managing director of the Wenatchee Valley Symphony.

The symphony’s third virtual concert is coming up March 6 at 6:30 p.m. and it promises to give us a most interesting and varied experience.

The concert, billed as “From W.A. Mozart to Miles Davis,” features a series of ensembles. As a big fan of all things quirky, I was particularly drawn to the first concert piece, Junk Funk, featuring the percussion ensemble. The instruments include a cardboard box, washtub, trash cans, flower pots, woodblocks and glass bottles.

We’ll hear conductor Nikolaus Caoille play the piano in a duet with violist Wesley Hunter, a string quartet playing Dvorak, a woodwind quintet, and a series of brass ensemble pieces.

One bright spot with the March 6 concert of ensembles is that it has been an inspiration to the musicians. The brass ensembles in particular have gotten excited about the concert and will be offering seven pieces.

This was not the original performance scheduled by the symphony when the concert schedule was developed last spring. None of us, I suspect, assumed that we would still be socially distancing a year after COVID-19 made its presence known here.

Like other organizations, the symphony has evolved and adapted.

It has been financially challenging for the organization. Attendance at their virtual concerts has lagged far behind the normal attendance at in-person concerts, Bermingham tells me. Perhaps traditional symphony patrons have been scared off by the technology, although as we all have discovered, concerts and programs that are streamed create an admirably rich experience.

Financially, the symphony is hanging in there thanks to generous donors. Right now, Bermingham said, they are in the process of raising $25,000 to close the gap between operating expenses and the expected ticket shortfall. They’ve raised nearly half that amount as of this writing. Perhaps supporters can dig deep and help with this Winter Fundraiser.

One of the most popular fundraisers is the annual Valentine event, but COVID-19 shuttered that effort. All of the performing arts nonprofits are in a similar boat.

The symphony makes contributing pretty darned easy. One merely needs to visit wenatcheesymphony.org to catch up on the latest information. They provide a button to donate on the home page. You can also buy tickets and access the concerts from that same spot.

“We’ve literally been rewriting the season as we go along,” said Berminghan, describing the experience as “bouncing through the obstacles.”

We are all holding out breath hoping that we can move to experiencing life without social distancing sometime this year. Until that time, we’re going to have to continue doing the best we can.

It’s heartening to see how our symphony has continued to keep the flame of music alive and doing so in a most creative and entertaining fashion. The symphony will host a fourth concert on April 10 that will also be streamed live.

Rufus Woods is the publisher emeritus of The Wenatchee World. He may be reached at rwoods@wenatcheeworld.com or 509-665-1162.