The Helena Symphony continues its 2020-2021 Season on Saturday, January 30, 7:30 p.m. (MST) on YouTube as part of the HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP MT live broadcasts. Season 66 – Part Two: Reimagined and Streaming Online is branded as “It’s ON!,” and the Helena Symphony has been bringing these live broadcasts to over 7,000 homes throughout the region, the state, the nation, and several hundred outside of the country since September. Following months of collaboration with the County health officials and reviewing international studies on the impacts of instrumental performance and singing, we decided that offering a livestream into people’s homes is the ideal way to bring our music-making into the lives of our community in an innovative and safe way.
“The pandemic has given the Helena Symphony the opportunity to reimagine how the 2020-2021 Season might look, sound, and feel,” explains Symphony President Patrick Keim. “Nothing can replace coming to the concert hall and experience live music-making by the Helena Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, and we are grateful to the many sponsors, partners, donors, and especially AARP Montana for serving as the principal sponsor of HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP MT. “AARP Montana continues to be excited to help bring the artistic excellence of the Helena Symphony’s music-making to people in the safety of their homes,” says Tim Summers, State Director of AARP Montana.
The Symphony polled its audience members and 80% indicated that they would watch the live-streamed performances, and over 60% would pay for it. 70% indicated that they would donate to the Symphony as well. To date thousands of people around the world tune into the live broadcasts during a time when so many arts organizations around the world have chosen or be forced to close their doors.
Season 66 – Part Two begins by glancing back to more simple times. Copland’s Appalachian Spring captures the pioneering spirit of America, and more importantly, the sound and soul of a younger, more naïve country with a sense of hopeful tomorrow. The concert concludes with the elegant charm of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and his “discovery of the past” – a much-needed escape for us all.
Aaron Copland is perhaps the most “Americana” composer of the 20th century, and specifically captured the true American spirit of possibilities and a better tomorrow through his enduring and popular Appalachian Spring. He received the prize in music for this score that was originally composed for a ballet. The work became a hallmark of Copland’s artistry and musical vocabulary. Appalachian Spring “has to do with the pioneer American spirit, with youth and spring, with optimism and hope,” said Copland. It affirmed why America entered the War, and audiences knew immediately and are still reminded what the country fought for when they saw and heard Appalachian Spring, even though it had no explicit patriotic theme.
Music Director Allan R. Scott explains that “perhaps without realizing it, America, while basking in its new status in the world after the War, was also longingly looking back at its innocence and belief that if we just move a little farther west, we will find another beginning, another promise of tomorrow. The work feels more relevant than ever as we all could use a sense of hope during these turbulent times.” In 1986 the U.S. Congress awarded Copland the Congressional Gold Medal recognizing Copland for his “his special achievement in creating a uniquely American style of composition, making a vital contribution to American artistic life.”
Stravinsky’s Pulcinella remains a masterpiece of wit and parody, tenderness and charm. The score is comprised of short miniatures based on music of 18th century Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi where the soloists are all within the orchestra itself. Like Appalachian Spring by Copland, Pulcinella was also originally composed for a ballet. “Stravinsky altered the score to give the music an unmistakably modern flavor,” says Maestro Scott. “He also distorted the original rhythms so that in place of the regular pulsations of baroque music, there are often quirky, angular, and irregular rhythms more reminiscent of – well, of Stravinsky!”
“Pulcinella was my discovery of the past,” Stravinsky once said, “the epiphany through which the whole of my late work became possible. It was a backward look, of course – the first of many love affairs in that direction – but it was a look in the mirror, too.”
Season 66 – Part Two
Season 66 – Part Two includes four more Masterworks Concerts and three more Education Concerts, including two Symphony Kids concerts and a special Youth Concert that will be broadcasts to schools and students around the country. The Symphony has invited some of the audience’s favorite guest artists back for this special Season, including world-renowned Pianist Claire Huangci, legendary Clarinetist Ricardo Morales, and internationally acclaimed Violinist Tim Fain. The Helena Symphony Orchestra will perform the great masterworks of music, such as Brahms’ epic Piano Concerto No. 2, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Scottish Symphony, Copland’s jazz-inspired Clarinet Concerto, along with works by Schumann, Bizet, Prokofiev, Debussy, and Fauré.
“We are not trying to duplicate or replicate the concert hall experience but innovate the experience of our music-making,” says Music Director Allan R. Scott. “The Helena Symphony was created for these very difficult times. Our music-making exists to literally save lives and to promote the spiritual and emotional well-being of our people. Despite the very different format, we will strive to continue to make lives better through music.
HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana
These live streams can be viewed on a smart phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computers, smart televisions, and televisions connected to the internet – or anywhere you have access to YouTube. Most televisions offer YouTube as an app or can be attached to another computing device to watch on the big screen. While nothing can replace the experience of attending a live performance, we feel that the live stream offers an exciting and new way to enjoy a concert. Each stream will be shot by 6-7 cameras and the camera crew will be able to operate within the Orchestra and Chorale, offering close-up shots of musicians, front-side views of the conductor, and visuals that are not possible by sitting in the auditorium. We will also have a pre-concert host, and short backstage interviews prior to walking onstage or at intermission. We are excited to present the Helena Symphony in a more personal, up-close manner.
There is no charge for the HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana, which will be available on YouTube, the Helena Symphony’s website, and the Symphony’s Facebook page. There will be an option available online to make a donation to the Helena Symphony.
For those who have purchased their Season Tickets, the Symphony is sending a second gift that includes a special Montana calendar, the highly sought-after Helena Symphony face masks, and a special Symphony branded blanket (perfect for staying warm during the broadcasts or for this summer’s Intrepid Credit Union Symphony Under the Stars). The Early-Bird Season Tickets that were purchased before this pandemic hit are essential in keeping the musicians of the Symphony together and playing. Your continued support is vital to our future.
Season ticket holders will continue to receive custom made Concert Watch Packs for each concert, including fun Symphony branded stickers, exclusive drink and meal recipe cards from the Silver Star – the official restaurant of the Helena Symphony, as well as access to the Pre-Concert Conversations online with Maestro Scott and guest artists 45 minutes prior to every Masterworks Concert; and The Art of Listening newsletter with information about the concert, including Maestro Scott’s program notes.