CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Thousands of people packed Appalachian Power Park Sunday for a popular summer symphony orchestra after being canceled last year due to COVID-19.
After more than a year, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra performed live in front of an audience for the first time.
“It’s been extremely tough on our musicians, on our staff, and on our patrons. They’ve missed seeing us at the hall, so when we had to cancel concerts last year, we pivoted a little bit and hosted some live streamings and concerts, but nothing is like having an audience,” Amanda McDonald, Marketing Director for West Virginia Symphony Orchestra said.
People said it’s a surreal moment being out in public again with large crowds without having to wear a mask.
“I’m just happy to be here. It’s so nice to see everyone out. It’s been a long time since we haven’t been able to socialize and to hear wonderful music. It’s just a treat to be here and I love being with my friends,” Donna Goldberg, who attended the concert said.
The concert is usually at the University of Charleston, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it took place at the Appalachian Power Park for the first time. This year, the event had some additions including local artisans, kids’ games and crafts and concessions.
“This fall we have a whole season planned, starting in the fall where we have indoor concerts starting with the audience and the hope is things continue in the way that they’re going now,” Lawrence Loh, Music Director of the West Virginia Symphony said.
Throughout the pandemic, the West Virginia Orchestra held virtual performances with different instruments, but Sunday featured all of them.
“This will be the first time that we’ll have a full representative orchestra, so meaning we have instruments from each of the instrument groups,” McDonald said.
After the concert, there was a huge firework show for people to enjoy.