Jul. 1—ADA — The Lima Symphony Orchestra has not seen a live audience for 16 months. But the orchestra will take the stage at Ohio Northern University on Friday for its first in-person concert of the coronavirus era, Patriotic Pops.
The family-friendly concert is free and will feature a variety of patriotic numbers and tributes to the armed forces as well as popular songs from Broadway and film. The performance will also double as the in-person debut for music director Andrew Crust, who joined the Lima Symphony Orchestra last June.
"There's always something missing when we're playing alone in a room," said Crust, who splits his time between Lima and Vancouver, where he works as an associate conductor of the Vancouver Symphony.
Crust led the orchestra through one of its most trying periods, broadcasting live and pre-recorded performances via streaming services or drive-in theaters.
While that digital transition allowed LSO to cultivate an audience outside of Lima, particularly with its Mornings with the Maestro educational programs, audiences and musicians alike are ready for the return of live shows, Crust said.
As Crust tells it: Music is made for sharing. The audience is essential. So the orchestra is now focusing its energy into "packing the halls as soon as it is safe to do so," Crust said, starting with Friday's Patriotic Pops performance.
"I think we've learned during this time how much we need the arts in our life, so now is the time to pay it forward," Crust said. "Buy tickets. Go to the theatre and go to the museum — use all of this time that we lost and support the arts."
The Patriotic Pops concert will be held outdoors in front of the Ohio Northern University McIntosh Center, with doors open at 6 p.m. and music starting at 7 p.m. Friday. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be moved indoors to the King Horn Sports Center, 609 W. Lincoln Ave., Ada, also on the ONU campus.
Lawn chairs, picnic food and drinks are welcome.