I was thrilled to learn that the Wenatchee Valley Symphony has extended the contract with gifted conductor Dr. Nikolas Caoile of Central Washington University through the 2028-29 season. That’s great news.

The energy, passion, excitement, fun and musicality that Nik brings to the symphony has been instrumental in lifting the quality of the performances. He’s one of those leaders who brings out the best in people and leads with a great deal of heart.

Spotlight On: Nikolas Caoile

Nikolas Caoile

Symphony members have responded to his encouragement and high standards by elevating the quality of their play. It’s been rather magical to witness. Nik, thanks for all you have done and are doing to enhance the cultural quality of our valley.

Ron Bermingham, the symphony’s managing director, had this to say about the contract extension: “For Wenatchee to be able to attract and hold on to a music director and conductor, and teacher of his exceptional caliber is a tribute to the wonderful musicians and patrons of the arts we have in this valley.”

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Rufus Woods

Publisher emeritus

Meanwhile, the symphony is preparing to open its season on Saturday, Oct. 3, assuming that the Numerica Performing Arts Center will be open at that time.

With the novel coronavirus in mind, the symphony is making a number of changes to support the health and well-being of patrons. To encourage social distancing, they plan to offer an additional Saturday concert — an afternoon as well as the usual evening performance. Splitting the audience in half will encourage physical distancing, Bermingham told me.

The symphony will also be offering a single ticket price for all seats, $25, regardless of location and will offer discounts for students and seniors. So that families can sit together, tickets can be purchased as singles or in groups. Rows that are used for the matinee performance will be roped off for the evening performance and seats between individuals and groups will be closed.

Another enhancement this year is that the symphony’s concerts will be livestreamed from the PAC which will allow people to attend remotely.

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Apollo Club Director Ron Bermingham

These are challenging times for all organizations, but arts groups are particularly challenged. The symphony is encouraging its patrons to help them weather the COVID pandemic through its Crescendo 2020 fundraising effort. Online gifts can be made online by visiting wenatcheesymphony.org.

I am impressed by the creative approach that our symphony is taking to meet the needs of patrons and keep them safe. We can expect them to keep adjusting as conditions evolve. We can hope that our community will be healthy enough to have live performances this fall. Let’s do our best to support them.

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