With coronavirus protocols in place, Springfield Symphony moves forward with indoor concert tonight

Executive Director of the Clark State Performing Arts Center Adele Adkins, in August, showed off some of the social distancing markers put in place in preparation of the venue reopening. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Executive Director of the Clark State Performing Arts Center Adele Adkins, in August, showed off some of the social distancing markers put in place in preparation of the venue reopening. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will proceed with their first indoor show since the start of the pandemic tonight as Clark County returned to level 3 coronavirus risk on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

The concert will be held at the Clark State Performing Arts Center’s Kuss Auditorium and will be streamed live online, according the the symphony.

“Inside that building we feel like we are being as safe as possible," SSO executive director Lou Ross said. "The change in level, even though it is concerning and certainly we talked about it yesterday, but at the same time we feel like if there wasn’t a change in level we would be as safe as possible and if there is a change in level we will be as safe as possible.”

Clark County Combined Health District Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said that the show was able to move forward, despite the county moving to a higher level, because the Ohio Director of Health’s orders on entertainment allows it.

Patterson said there are specific guidelines for entertainment venues to host shows and the SSO and Clark State PAC “have worked very hard to meet those guidelines to make sure that it is safe for those patrons.”

The state has provided guidelines for entertainment venues.

“The Director of Heath’s order on entertainment allows the show to move forward," Patterson said. "Not something the health department is necessarily endorsing because we have moved to red, but the current director’s orders allow it and so we don’t have the ability to enforce anything that would prevent them from opening.”

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System is a system to alert the public that there is more disease in the community and that they should be more careful with what they do, Patterson said.

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The Ohio COVID-19 Risk Level Guidelines for the Public under a level 3 risk include:

  • Decrease in-person interactions with others.
  • Limit attending gatherings of any number.
  • Consider necessary travel only.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is considered high-risk.
  • Conduct a daily health/symptom self-evaluation and stay at home if symptomatic.
  • Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from non-household members.
  • Wear face coverings in public, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Follow good hygiene standards including washing hands, using hand sanitizer, not touching your face and covering coughs or sneezes.

“We would ask residents to be extra careful. It is not recommended at this time under red that we have large gatherings," Patterson said.

The symphony emphasized the precautions that will be taken.

“We’re distancing properly, we have all the safety protocols in place. We’re doing everything we possibly can do," Ross said. "I think that’s why we felt comfortable moving forward because it doesn’t change how we present the concert. Although, we are certainty on more high alert because of the change in the level in the county.”

Tonight’s show is limited to 225 patrons in the 1,500 seat auditorium. Ross said there are some tickets still available.

There will be no concessions available, patrons will be admitted at staggered arrival times and the show will be about an hour long, so the patrons will not be there long, but still have the experience, according to the symphony.

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The show will involve 18 musicians – strings, percussion and keyboards - and a conductor. Ross said they will wear masks and social distance from each other. He added woodwind and brass players will be further distanced with plexiglass shields to add further protection.

Ross said if patrons are concerned about attending the show due to the level change, they should call the box office.

“We just wish everybody would be safe and use their own best judgement. We would love to have people come out and we appreciate the ones that can, but we understand," Ross said. "That’s why we are livestreaming it. Stay home and watch it, don’t take a chance. It’s okay. We want people to know we’re here still and we’re a functioning organization.”

Patterson also reminded people to be cautious.

“We need people to think twice before they gather, think twice before they’re with people outside of their immediate household and we need people to understand that this would be a great time to get tested," Patterson said.

A limited number of tickets for the “Welcome Home” show starting at 7:30 p.m. tonight are available. For more information, call the Performing Arts Center box office at 937-328-3874. A livestream will also be available at the SSO’s website.

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