Shows are returning to Long Beach Symphony, but you’ll need proof of vaccination to attend

After 18 months since their theater went dark, the Long Beach Symphony is finally setting the stage for live performances once again with seven shows announced for their 2021-22 classical season, including the highly anticipated “Violins of Hope” concert that was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The return also includes five concerts under the Symphony’s POPS! series, kicking off on Oct. 23 with “Windborne’s Music of Queen,” which, as you might assume, will feature the music of the beloved British rock band, Queen.

“I cannot wait to make music again with this extraordinary orchestra and I look forward to welcoming back our wonderfully supportive audiences to experience the power and healing of live music,” said Symphony Music Director Eckart Preu in a statement.

The Symphony’s return comes on the heels of the state’s loosening of COVID-19 restrictions on June 15, which relaxed nearly all the rules on public gatherings enacted to help curb the spread of the virus as cases had reached all-time lows in California and were stable, bolstered by high vaccination rates in the state overall.

But with the rise of COVID-19 cases, largely spurred by the more contagious delta variant, the Symphony held back on any announcements until a decision could be made on how to move ahead.

Long Beach Symphony will require patrons to provide proof of full vaccination status in order to attend its concerts and a negative COVID-19 test will not be accepted as a substitute. Other arts organizations in Long Beach also require the status of their patrons, such as the Art Theatre of Long Beach and the Long Beach Playhouse.

“I am honored to work for an organization whose Board of Directors is willing to take this bold and courageous action in order to ensure the health and safety of our patrons, artists and staff,” Kelly Lucera, Long Beach Symphony President said in a statement.

The decision was voted on by the Symphony’s board of directors on Sept. 14. which also ratified a new contract with the American Federation of Musicians, Local 353, a union that bargains on behalf of other prominent local art institutions including the Long Beach Camerata Singers, Long Beach Ballet, Long Beach Opera and more.

Attendees will need to provide proof of a valid vaccination by either photo, paper or documents from their healthcare provider and show photo I.D. Patrons must be fully vaccinated (two shots for Pfizer and Moderna; one for J&J) at least two weeks before being permitted to enter the Terrace Theater. Children are not excluded from this requirement, the symphony said. In line with county regulations, masks will also be required while indoors.

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, here’s what you can expect to see from the Long Beach Symphony this 2021-22 season.

POPS! SERIES

  • Oct. 23 – “Windborne’s Music of Queen”
    • Long Beach Symphony orchestra will pay homage to the late Freddy Mercury with a performance of Queen’s greatest hits.
  • Dec. 18 – “Holiday POPS with the Camerata Singers”
    • A local tradition, this show with special guests Long Beach Camerata Singers, will get you into the spirit of Christmas with popular tunes that evoke yuletide cheer.
  • Feb. 12 – “The musical legacy of Chicago”
    • Brass Transit will join the symphony to perform the multi-platinum songbook of “Chicago.”
  • March 26 – “Paul Shaffer Presents”
    • David Letterman’s longtime musical director, Paul Schaffer, will conduct symphonic performances of his favorite pop, R&B and jazz tunes together with Motown legend Valerie Simpson.
  • May 21 – “Aretha Franklin, A Tribute to the Queen of Soul”
    • The season ends with a celebration of Aretha Franklin’s most famous hits, including RESPECT, Think, a Natural Woman, Chain of Fools, Amazing Grace, and many others.

CLASSICAL SERIES

  • Nov. 13 – “Opening Night! Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7”
    • This three-part show opens with Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” followed by the “Ballade for Orchestra” by distinguished British composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The program concludes with what’s referred to as Beethoven’s most excellent symphony, “Symphony No. 7.”
  • Jan. 8 & 9 – “Violins of Hope”
    • The highly anticipated concert commemorates and features a unique collection of restored instruments played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, many while in concentration camps. Of the “deeply emotional” setlist, expect to hear Mozart’s “Requiem” with the Long Beach Camerata Singers, Bruch’s “Kol Nidrei,” John Williams’s “Theme” from “Schindler’s List” and more.
  • Feb. 5 – “Silver-Garburg Piano Duel”
    • Featuring the acclaimed Israeli piano duo, Silva Silver and Gil Garbug, expect the pair to duel in a program including Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s “Overture in C” and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No.4, Italian.”
  • March 12 – “The Firebird Suite”
    • This romantic program celebrates fairy tales from Norway and Russia with performances of Grieg’s “Peer Gynt (Suite No. 1),” German composer Richard Strauss, “Oboe Concerto in D Major,” and Igor Stravinsky, “The Firebird Suite.”
  • April 30 – “Pepe Romero Returns!”
    • Classical guitarist Pepe Romero joins the Long Beach Symphony to perform “Medea” by Manolo Sanlúcar and music by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Franz Joseph Haydn.
  • June 4 – “Scheherazade”
    • The three-part season finale will introduce audiences to a new piece, “Global Warming,” by Michael Abel followed by Israeli-American cellist, Inbal Segev’s performance of Anna Clyne’s Cello Concerto, “Dance” inspired by the 13th century Persian writer and mystic Rumi. The evening culminates with Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” with violin passages portraying a story of the woman who convinced the Sultan to spare her life by telling him one-thousand-and-one stories of Arabian nights.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Long Beach Symphony website, click here, or call 562-436-3203.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the “Chicago” Pops performance is not related to the Broadway musical, but rather the band. 

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.
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