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Symphony Sunday 2019

Spectators listen as the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra plays during the annual Symphony Sunday at the University of Charleston in 2019. The concert is returning later this summer at Appalachian Power Park.

Symphony Sunday is returning to Charleston this summer, although it will be quite different from what fans have become accustomed to attending.

The annual concert, which was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be held June 6 at Appalachian Power Park. The event, sponsored by MATRIC, the Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center, is typically held on the open lawn at the University of Charleston.

Amanda McDonald, marketing director for the West Virginia Symphony, said moving the concert to the ballpark will allow for moderate attendance while still maintaining space for social distancing.

Instead of fans spreading out blankets or chairs on the UC lawn, this year’s ballpark concert will see fans sitting in the stands while the orchestra performs on the field.

While a start time has not been announced, the program will likely begin later in the day and will include performances only by the West Virginia Youth Symphony and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

McDonald said organizers hope next year’s Symphony Sunday would see a return to normal.

“We plan to be back at the University of Charleston,” she said.

In the meantime, McDonald said, the symphony has high hopes for the concert at the ballpark.

“I think we would like to do more events at the ballpark,” she said. “Maybe we would have Symphony Sunday in the spring at the University of Charleston, and then have another event in the fall.”

McDonald said additional details, such as the music selection and how many musicians will be participating, are still being worked out. She said West Virginia Symphony music director and conductor Lawrence Loh is putting together a program.

More than half of the musicians in the symphony live outside the Charleston area. Most of them perform with other organizations, but McDonald said the response, so far, has been good.

McDonald said the symphony is working on other events, as well, including more streaming concerts that would be broadcast on West Virginia Public Broadcasting and, potentially, two more live, public concerts.

A new symphony season also could be announced in coming weeks, she said.

Because the coronavirus pandemic remains a concern, plans could change. McDonald said the symphony will monitor developments and follow proper guidelines.

Nevertheless, she said the symphony is glad to announce its first performance in front of a live audience in over a year.

“It’s just so exciting to deliver some good news,” she said.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5195 or follow @lostHwys on Twitter. He’s also on Instagram at instagram.com/billiscap/ and read his blog at blogs.wvgazettemail.com/onemonth.

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