North Valley Symphony Orchestra (NVSO) musicians have been hard at work this fall. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible for the musicians to meet as a full ensemble, NVSO has continued to provide the opportunity for musicians of all ages to learn, rehearse and perform exceptional music.
NVSO operates three youth ensembles, which have been meeting virtually every week. Students have been given a premium subscription to SmartMusic, an online music education tool. They receive weekly assignments and also have access to a comprehensive library so they can self-discover some amazing music. In addition to weekly assignments, the three ensembles hold virtual rehearsals to allow the students the opportunity to collaborate and learn together.
NVSO adult musicians were given the opportunity to meet in small chamber ensembles. Groups of no more than eight musicians have been rehearsing in homes volunteered by musicians. They follow COVID-19 protocols including wearing masks and maintaining at least six feet of separation between musicians. These chamber ensembles recorded their repertoire in November. The videos will be released virtually throughout December and January.
The orchestra says that its annual Christmas concert is a favorite for both the audience and the musicians, and it will be keeping that holiday spirit this year by offering localized performances through the “Neighborhood Noels” program. NVSO musicians are being encouraged to hold small chamber concerts of holiday music in their immediate neighborhoods, maintaining appropriate COVID-19 precautions.
Music director Kevin Kozacek said, “COVID-19 has been especially difficult for the entertainment industry. NVSO has cancelled our major concerts for one entire year, from March 2020 to March 2021. Our holiday concerts are usually the best attended and most beloved concert of the season, and we are disappointed that we will not be able to provide that special performance.”
Kozacek added that NVSO has continued rehearsing, and reorganized as smaller “chamber” sized groups, until the orchestra can once again meet as a full orchestra. These chamber ensembles will provide weekly YouTube performances, which will be posted on their website and on social media. Musicians will also be providing a program called “Neighborhood Noels,” where small groups of instrumentalists perform everyone’s favorite holiday music throughout communities in private parks, driveways and local ramadas.
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