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Carmel Symphony Orchestra forges ahead with final Masterworks concert

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Carmel Symphony Orchestra Artistic Director Janna Hymes is encouraged by the way her orchestra has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re one of the orchestras in the country that has played throughout COVID,” Hymes said. “We’re kind of a success story and I’m proud of that. We’ve worked hard to do that. I have a lot of friends in the industry who have just burned out because they are just exhausted. They are finding other jobs. They are going into real estate. One is selling wine. I think entertainment has been hit the hardest. We were one of the first things to shut down and we are one of the last things to come back.

“You can’t fight it. You have to go with it.”

Carmel Symphony Orchestra will hold its final Masterworks concert of the 2020-21 season at 7:30 p.m. April 24 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. Seating will be limited because of social distancing. A livestream option is available for $20.

“The reason I’m excited is, it is all some of my favorite music,” Hymes said. “It’s all beautiful and it’s all really different.”

The program includes “Marriage of Figaro Overture” (Wolfgang Mozart); “Pavane” (Gabriel Faure); “Mother Goose Suite” (Maurice Ravel); and “Symphony No. 1 in C” (Georges Bizet).

“The ‘Marriage of Figaro’ is very exuberant and upbeat,” Hymes said. “It’s a short, fun opening. The Pavane is a slow, beautiful, dreamy piece which features our principal flute player. It’s gorgeous. People will recognize that piece and they will recognize a lot of the music, which is one of the reasons I like this concert. The ‘Mother Goose Suite’ is delightful.”

The concert closes with Bizet’s “Symphony No. 1 in C” that Bizet wrote when he was 17.

“The piece just shows his youth and excitement,” Hymes said. “It’s a really optimistic program and it’s got a lot of positive energy.”

Hymes said 44 musicians will be on stage, which is not a full orchestra because of COVID-19 spacing restrictions.

“It’s more of a chamber orchestra but definitely delightful with winds and brass,” she said.

The crowd will be limited to approximately 350 to 400, the same as the March concert.

“When we use the livestream, the cameras take up a lot of space,” Hymes said.

Hymes said it’s been a year of figuring things out. She said it is still up in the air whether there will a May 8 concert, which wasn’t set to be part of the Masterworks series. Disney music is planned that can’t be livestream because of copyrights.

“The best thing to do is be really flexible and to be open-minded,” Hymes said. “We do feel positive with people getting the vaccine and warmer weather coming (that) there is more opportunity to play outside.”

Hymes is optimistic about CSO’s future but said smaller arts organizations around the world will make a decision if they can keep going.

“We’re very fortunate that we have a city that supports the arts,” she said. “The mayor (Carmel’s Jim Brainard) is so generous, especially to the resident companies.”

Hymes is confident that a fuller orchestra can perform in the 2021-22 season.

“I have planned the season as if it will be a non-COVID year,” she said.

Tickets for the in-person April 24 concert as well as livestreaming are available at CarmelSymphony.org. Prices begin at $18. Audience members are required to wear masks.


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