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Virginia Symphony Orchestra creatively connects with audience during COVID-19

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, approaching its 100th season, is still inspiring others during self-isolation.

NORFOLK, Va. — While people hope for a return to normal after COVID-19, musicians dream of a return to the stage.

"This is a big part of who we are. What we do day in and day out is something very personal, but it's also something that we're sharing constantly with our communities and with our audiences," said Tanner Antonetti, a trombonist with the Norfolk-based Virginia Symphony Orchestra. 

The nonprofit is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary in the coming months, but had to cancel or postpone many events at the height of the current season because of coronavirus. 

"It was hard having to not only let ourselves down, but let our audiences down with all these really big performances that were planned for the rest of the season," said Antonetti.

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The sounds of the symphony can still be heard. 

Musicians are performing for audiences using social media, and connecting with students through video calls. The organization also launched a virtual Music Learning Lab, providing free access to educational and enrichment programming. 

"We just wanted to be able to kind of fill that void that was suddenly created when we couldn't reach the students that we see week to week in different public schools, or from the concert stage," said Antonetti.

The orchestra is asking for support to continue sharing its talents with the community, while waiting for concert halls to reopen. 

"As we're dealing with these circumstances, the Virginia Symphony is seeing it as an opportunity to find new ways to engage not only with students, but with the community," Antonetti explained.

To learn more about the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, visit its website. You can also check out the group on Facebook or Instagram.

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