It might not have been a traditional concert, what with the masks, Plexiglass shields, and social distancing between musicians, but the Summer Music Festival presented two concerts in June, which were broadcast live to an audience through two radio stations and the Summer Music Festival’s Facebook page. In order to follow state regulations, the number of musicians involved in the “Live From Packard Hall” concert was limited, says Sue Grace, director of the Summer Music Festival, which is now in its 36th year. Only five musicians were allowed on the stage at a time, with the string players and pianists wearing masks and a clear Plexiglass panel set up at the front and sides of the wind players to contain the air they pushed out. “The musicians were up for the challenge,” says Grace. “They were eager to play together.”
The June 21 concert featured works by Mozart, Doppler, Uebayashi, Penderecki, and Bartok; the June 23 concert featured works by Mozart, Hoffmeister, Brahms, and Schumann. Professor of Music Michael Grace gave a pre-concert lecture via Zoom one hour before each concert.
“The Summer Music Festival is the highlight of our year,” says Conductor Scott Yoo, who has been with the festival since 2002. “Driving into Colorado Springs in early June brings a huge rush of excitement — to be reunited with friends, see the beauty of Colorado, and especially, to meet 55 wonderful young fellows. This summer, we’ve missed that. But to get the chance to perform with our colleagues was a huge relief for all of us. It brought all of us a sense of meaning and connection — both to each other, and to the music. We are all very grateful that Susan Grace organized one of America’s only live classical music performances of summer 2020.”