SHEBOYGAN — Saturday should have been the launch of the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra's new season.
COVID-19 has pushed back the season's start to a tentative Feb. 13, but the symphony still wanted to bring classical music to the community this weekend.
"Right now we can't have an indoor concert with the full symphony of 60 people, it's too big of a health concern," said Josh Hernday, Executive Director. "We've been thinking outside of the box as much as possible to come up with ideas. Symphonies and arts groups in general have been forced to take a step back and re-evaluate what we're doing and see that what we're offering is really best for the community, is serving them in the right way."
For Hernday and the symphony, that answer was a cozy outdoor concert.
"City Green is a gorgeous venue and a wonderful stage for people to grab a blanket or lawn chair with the family and enjoy themselves," he said. "It's been a while since we've been able to get together and share music and have a little taste of normal."
The string quartet will feature members Paul Sekulski and Krista Hettinger on violin, Molly Lieberman on viola and Lindsay Patterson on cello.
The program will include the well-known String Quartet No. 12 "American" by Antonín Dvorák and String Quartet No. 2 by Aleksandr Borodin bookended by Jerry Owen's concertant over Czech folk songs and Morten Lauridsen's "Centre Qui, Rose".
"We've tossed around the idea of doing more things like this, but we just haven't done it," Hernday said. "We want to make it a regular thing and give people the option to have more of these musical experiences outside of just coming to see it in a big gymnasium. There's so much out there to offer more of a comprehensive and educational experience.
"When we were all locked up in our houses and told not to breathe on each other, what did we turn to?" he added. "It was the arts—to film, to radio, to music. It's something that defines cultures, that defines us as the human race, is the ability to make music. It's important for us to keep doing that in whatever way we can because it's what we turn to whenever everything else seems to fail."
The symphony's 2021 season concert dates are currently slated for Feb. 13, March 13, May 8 and June 5.