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Akron Symphony Orchestra Plans Pop-Up Performances For ‘Interlude Season’

 Akron Symphony Orchestra bass player Brian Del Bianco performs in digital programming. [Akron Symphony Orchestra]
Akron Symphony Orchestra bass player Brian Del Bianco performs in digital programming.

A trip to the Akron Art Museum or Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank could soon include a surprise musical performance. Small, pop-up concerts are one way the Akron Symphony Orchestra plans to connect with the community and provide musicians work during the pandemic.

Many performing arts organizations have been postponing or canceling large, in-person events until later in the year or next year. The Akron Symphony Orchestra went ahead this week and postponed its entire 2020-21 season for a whole year.

In the meantime, the Akron Symphony Orchestra will present an “Interlude Season” featuring small performances. A trio of musicians, for example, might play unannounced and at a social distance at Akron's zoo or library.

“What we’re envisioning is serving as a supplemental experience to programs in venues that are already open, where patrons are already safely gathering,” said Paul Jarrett, executive director of the Akron Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to the pop-up concerts, the Akron Symphony Orchestra plans free digital programming. The orchestra may look to provide larger and announced concerts next year, depending on health guidelines.

“We created a very flexible hiring practice with our orchestra musicians so that we can respond to what the community deems safe over the upcoming year,” Jarrett said.

Musicians can choose based on their comfort levels whether to participate in small performances or digital programming. The Akron Symphony Orchestra is paying musicians for the “Interlude Season” with endowment funds, a government Paycheck Protection Program loan and donor support, Jarrett said.

The “Interlude Season” runs from August until May 2021. Subscriptions and tickets for the postponed concert season will automatically move to the 2021-22 season.  

Carrie Wise is the deputy editor of arts and culture at Ideastream Public Media.