Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony
2020: A shift to digital #wcfsymphony
When the pandemic hit in 2020, it was clear that without live concerts, wcfsymphony could fade from the community’s consciousness. It was also evident that our responsibility to safely serve the community and our musicians continued, despite the unprecedented conditions.
The question we faced was “How can we use our unique organizational strengths to respond to the situation we have been dealt?”
To answer this question, our vision became to build a library of digital performances, feature series and educational videos delivered to the community free of charge, delivered live and archived on our website.
In producing this library, we decided to take time to process our own feelings and observations about the pandemic. While we ended up being silent while others rushed out videos, the time helped us develop a digital programming plan that maintained our commitment to high-quality and consistent events that had real staying power.
The wcfsymphony Digital Programming library consists of:
LIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE is a digital series which remixes past performances into new, insightful programs on a variety of themes. The monthly episodes are programmed and hosted by Pauline Barrett Artistic Director Jason Weinberger.
MUSIC MAKES ME is wcfsymphony’s virtual music education series for elementary school students and curious listeners of all ages.
In THE RICHER EXPERIENCE, wcfsymphony Executive Director Rich Frevert goes behind the scenes! Patrons learn about concert production, community engagement, fundraising, and other essential elements of presenting concerts.
THE MUSICIAN BEAT is our pandemic-era interview series with wcfsymphony musicians at home, in studio, and at performance spaces. The interviews explore the unique musical backgrounds of wcfsymphony players, their histories with the orchestra, and the challenges they are facing due to the pandemic.
RADIO HOUR is a musical journey charting the paths of influential ideas and creators. The series spins fascinating recordings interspersed with musical insights and historical background.
CELEBRATING BEETHOVEN marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven through a unique look at the Viennese tradition of serenade-style music. Jason Weinberger conducted a spatially-distanced ensemble in Beethoven’s Septet and utilized the new digital format to discuss and explore related music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Louis Spohr, Franz Berwald, and Franz Schubert.
GLORIOUS BRASS was an exploration of baroque and seasonal brass music, in a creative virtual presentation. Perfect for the whole family, this free and on-demand presentation featured a diverse array of shorter selections performed by the wcfsymphony Brass Ensemble.
WORLD WINDS was a family-friendly virtual concert from the Gallagher-Bluedorn stage. The free, on-demand stream offered commentary showcasing the geography and history of music for wind instruments.
So far, components of the wcfsymphony Digital Programming library have been viewed close to 20,000 times. We have succeeded in keeping music in the lives of our patrons and young people, at no cost to them. While employment for our musicians remains a challenge, we have continued to offer work to them, albeit at reduced levels versus pre-pandemic. Lastly, we have developed digital capabilities we could not have imagined two years ago. We hope that our efforts have served as an inspiration to others who seek to find opportunities in adversity.