Together again: Juneau Symphony returns to live, in-person performances

Live music events continue to return to the capital city this week as the Juneau Symphony takes to the stage Friday evening to present Camerata Night.

The sold-out concert marks the opening act of the symphony’s 59th season, fittingly called “Together Again” — a nod to the six virtual concerts the group performed as COVID-19 restrictions shuttered concerts and other live entertainment.

Described as “an evening of small ensemble works,” the group’s first in-person concert in almost two years will take place at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in the Mendenhall Valley.

“It’s a new venue for us,” said Charlotte Truitt, executive director for the symphony, in a phone call Tuesday morning. “The style is more intimate and the setting is in nature. It’s the perfect location to experience live music. It’s going to be an amazing night.”

Truitt said that Friday’s show will feature 28 Juneau Symphony musicians.

“It has been wonderful for the orchestra to be together again, doing what we love,” said Franz Felkl, concertmaster and artistic director, in a news release.

Felkl said that returning to in-person concerts offers more artistic options.

“Over the past year, with our virtual season, we were limited to quartets and smaller ensembles. We were able to expand incrementally with this program featuring small ensembles and a chamber orchestra,” he said.

According to the news release, the concert features a cello quartet performing works by J. S. Bach and Goltermann and the chamber orchestra performing W. F. Bach’s “Adagio e Fuga,” Edvard Grieg’s “Holberg Suite” and W.A Mozart’s “Symphony No. 27.”

“Everyone in the orchestra is very excited to be playing for an audience and sharing our music live with our community. It will be a special evening not just for the audience, but for the musicians as well,” Felkl said.

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Mitigation Plans

While the symphony is eager to perform, Truitt said that COVID-19 mitigation measures were a big part of the planning process.

“We have a mitigation plan and we are very cautious,” she said.

Truitt explained that performers will remain masked, except for those who play wind instruments.

Musicians who play wind instruments will participate in COVID-19 testing to ensure safety.

In addition, all audience members will be required to wear masks and present proof of vaccination to enter the venue. The Empire presented proof of vaccination to photograph a recent rehearsal.

Looking forward

Overall, Truitt said she’s optimistic about the upcoming year and looks forward to more shows with in-person audience members.

In addition, she said the symphony has resumed the search for a new music director after shelving the effort during the pandemic.

Truitt said that two of the three original candidates, including Christopher Koch and Scott Seaton, are still interested and that a final vote will happen soon. She expects the next director to be named in mid-November.

“We’ve learned a lot over the last few years that will help us keep moving forward.There’s pent up demand for live music and new appreciation for coming together,” she said.

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Know & Go

While this week’s concert is sold out, Truitt said that the group is planning Holiday Cheer concerts scheduled for Dec. 11 and 12. She said tickets would go on sale in the next few weeks.

Visit Juneausymphony.org to learn more about upcoming concerts and the search for the new music director.

Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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