Many orchestra concerts took place in parks this summer. In late September, string musicians from the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra performed a sold-out concert at Hollow Park in Woodbury, Connecticut, representing the ensemble’s first live concert since the pandemic began in March. The performance, featuring Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, led by Ryan Tani and including violin soloist Sirena Huang, was later streamed for free for those who could not attend the in-person event. In September, ensembles from Kentucky’s Owensboro Symphony Orchestra performed free in Smothers Park along Owensboro’s riverfront, for an evening of “Symphony Stroll” chamber music. This season, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s regular venue, the Plaza Theatre, is closed, and the orchestra is performing at various locations throughout the city, including the Teachers Federal Credit Union grounds, Madeline Park, and Eastwood “Album” Park. The Dayton Philharmonic joined the Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet for a streamed event on September 12 entitled “A Celebration from Carillon Historical Park,” a 65-acre open-air museum that chronicles Dayton’s history. Musicians performed Dvořák, Gabrieli, Barber, and more in the James F. Dicke Family Transportation Center and the Eichelberger Pavilion overlooking park grounds. In August and September, Ohio’s ProMusica Chamber Orchestra performed seven concerts at outdoor sites including Headley Park in Gahanna and Coffman Park in Dublin, Ohio. Virginia’s Richmond Symphony opened its season in September with two open-air concerts, one at Richmond’s one-day Maymont Big Tent Festival, the other at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield. In September, the Rockford Symphony returned to live performance with a concert at Sinnissippi Park in Rockford, Illinois. In Montana, Missoula Symphony Orchestra musicians headed to a ranch to perform and record chamber music concerts that will be streamed during the 2020-21 season. Composer and sound designer Ellen Reid wrote SOUNDWALK, a GPS-enabled work of public art, which launched in September in New York City’s Central Park and Saratoga Performing Arts Center in upstate New York. Visitors can listen to Reid’s music via an app anywhere in the parks, performed by musicians of the New York Philharmonic and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, plus the jazz ensemble Poole and the Gang and Reid’s SOUNDWALK Ensemble.

Caption1: Waterbury Symphony Orchestra string musicians perform at Hollow Park in Woodbury, Connecticut, September 2020. Photo courtesy of Waterbury Symphony Orchestra.

Caption2: Musicians from Kentucky’s Owensboro Symphony Orchestra perform in Smothers Park, along Owensboro’s riverfront. 

Caption3: The Rockford Symphony Orchestra performs at the Sinnissippi Music Shell in Rockford, Illinois.