Concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic forced Carroll College and the Helena Symphony to cancel a summer highlight: the annual Symphony Under the Stars, slated for July 18 at Carroll College.
Since its inception 16 years ago, the event has drawn more than 18,000 people from across Montana and two-dozen states to enjoy an evening of symphonic music on the campus lawn.
In addition to health concerns, organizers say sponsorships for the event, which costs around $120,000, are challenging this year as well, due to the ongoing financial hardships caused by the pandemic shutdown.
“The Intrepid Credit Union Symphony Under the Stars is a celebration of Helena, our community, the beauty of Montana, and a time to really have a party atmosphere. This is what makes this particular concert so unique and nationally-noted,” says Music Director Allan R. Scott. “While music is, and will be, essential for our emotional, spiritual and psychological healing, we must be mindful of the tens of thousands of Americans who have lost their lives because of this crisis. Therefore this would not be an appropriate time to celebrate.”
Likewise, organizers are mindful of the health risk the event could post to patrons, visitors, staff, musicians and the community.
“Carroll is a place that inspires others and this event will remain an incredible inspiration for our community and our city – once it’s the right time to celebrate,” says Carroll College President Dr. John Cech.
More Helena Symphony changes
In other news, the symphony has rescheduled two forthcoming performances, moved into a new office, and is offering mini concerts.
Carmen in Concert Postponed: The season finale, slated for June 13, has been postponed until two years from now for the 2021-2022 Season. All tickets for this performance will be honored for any performance during the 2020-2021 season, or may be returned as a donation. Season-ticket holders will receive additional tickets or Bring a Friend Vouchers for the 2020-2021 season; tickets may also be returned as a donation.
Benefit Concert at Montana Ting: The annual benefit concert, originally set for June 27, has been rescheduled for Saturday, Aug. 1. Tickets for this red-carpet affair, “A Night in Hollywood at the Montana Ting,” are $150. The location allows for required social distancing and the event is limited to 500 people.
The Helena Symphony will only offer this performance if public health officials deem it safe to do so. Meanwhile, the symphony is working with public health officials to ensure the safety of patrons, audience, musicians, and guest artists.
Symphony Offices Moved: Planned for many months, the Helena Symphony offices and administrative operations have relocated from the Livestock Building to the main floor of the Placer Building. Built in 1913 by George H. Carsley in association with Cass Gilbert, The Placer Hotel was Helena’s finest hotel for many years, a political hangout, and provided lodging to many historical figures.
Daily Mini Concerts: The principal musicians of the Helena Symphony Orchestra have been offering daily mini concerts. “Over 2,500 people every day are experiencing these wonderful musical moments,” says Rehanna Olson, director of artistic planning. “We are absolutely committed to keeping music going for this community.”
Despite all the changes, the symphony’s core mission remains intact.
“Music is needed more than ever and it will be essential to our healing,” says Maestro Scott. “Music defines who we are and who we strive to be, and the Helena Symphony exists for this very reason – to bring the hearts and minds of the people in our community together through music.
“The Helena Symphony exists for our community, because of our community, and we look forward to being with everyone again in concert soon.”