November 11, 2020 Update
– David Rogers, YSO Executive Director

Three months ago, we shared that it would not be possible to present our season programming as planned through December, but we were not yet ready to rule out a live holiday performance of some kind. While Yakima has been moved officially to Phase 2 of Washington’s Safe Start program, current COVID-19 infection trends are moving in the wrong direction, and we currently have no performance venue available large enough to safely accommodate even a chamber orchestra; so at this time we are taking both our December 5-6 Holiday Pops Spectacular dates and our January 9 Brandenburg date off the performance calendar. As with our earlier concerts, each of these programs will be replaced on the subscription season by a chamber music program on a date to be determined. These programs will be announced later in the month of December, along with plans for the remainder of our scheduled 2020-21 season.

We would, however, like to share some good news. The Washington state arts commission has worked to draft a proposal for the performing arts under Washington’s Safe Start reopening program which has been submitted to the governor’s office. The governor has not yet signed off, but if approved it would allow for limited live performances with audience as early as Phase 3, rather than having to wait for Phase 4 as under the current protocol. A recent survey has revealed that the majority of our subscription audience prefers to wait for live performances rather than virtual-only concerts, and with this potential change in circumstances it is far more likely that we might be able to resume some kind of performance activity by late winter or early spring.

While the program of Bach’s Brandenburg concerti will not occur in January, we are still hopeful that chamber orchestra performances might be possible by late spring or summer, before the conclusion of our reconfigured 2020-21 season. We would like to thank our subscribers for your patience as we have continued to evaluate prospects for the season, and we ask for yet a bit more patience as we continue to analyze survey data and explore potential alternate venues for live programming, which may include both indoor and outdoor locations depending on the time of year. We expect to have a great deal more clarity regarding our scheduled February-May programming in the next month, and this will enable us to offer clearer information and options to you by the end of December.

In the meantime, we will have at least one musical presentation during the holidays, with a new “Holiday Highlights” radio program on Northwest Public Broadcasting featuring performances from our past Holiday Pops Spectacular concerts. This program will air on the evening of December 10th – keep an eye here on our website and in social media for more information. On Saturday, November 14th, Maestro Golan hosts a real-time, virtual “Conversation and a Concert” featuring Brahms’ Second Symphony, and another virtual event is being planned for early January. And if you have not caught each of the video presentations in our “Music from Home” video series, I hope you’ll take a moment to enjoy these entertaining and informative glimpses into our musicians’ professional lives.

The musicians of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra are eager to return to the stage, and we are eager to find ways to bring them back and to see all of you there as soon as it is safe to do so. We look forward to sharing more information with you next month, but if you have questions in the meantime please email us at info@ysomusic.org, or leave a message at our office number: (509) 248-1414. Please note that our office downtown is still closed, so we will return phone messages as soon as it is practical.