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Springfield Symphony Orchestra Remains Confident Despite Operational Changes

SPRINGFIELD, MA – In the wake of several concert cancellations, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra has experienced a high degree of operational disruption and financial distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SSO has made the painful but necessary decision to delay the start of its 2020-2021 season and make temporary changes to its administrative staffing to ensure the long-term survival of the Symphony.

Over the course of the past few months, the SSO’s management team has been actively planning our next season, investigating various scenarios for producing concerts while insuring the health and safety of its patrons, musicians, and staff. But since allowing large gatherings and reopening concert venues like Springfield Symphony Hall fall into Phase 4 of the Baker administration’s Reopening Massachusetts plan, it has become evident that the only responsible decision to make at this point in time is to delay the start of the season until the path forward is more clearly defined.

Since the start of the pandemic, the SSO has taken numerous actions to meet current challenges – including cancelling five performances that were to be held in the spring of 2020, receiving funds from the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, collecting donations to cover operating expenses (through our Challenge Match and Annual Fund), and raising money to help sustain our musicians in their time of need (through the Musicians Relief Fund). But with no foreseeable performance income, the organization must take additional steps, including temporarily furloughing almost all of its office staff and reducing hours and pay for the remaining staff, including Executive Director Susan Beaudry, who herself volunteered to take a 30% reduction in pay.

Ms. Beaudry stresses that this move is only temporary. “The SSO is very fortunate to have a highly competent, close-knit staff, each of whom is extremely invested in the success of the organization,” she said. “I don’t take this matter lightly. I know what a hardship this will cause for many, but though furloughs may continue through part of the fall, our team members will be called back as soon as possible. This pause is unfortunate, but we are excited to be planning SSO’s future and are looking forward to presenting the community with live concerts again. In the meantime, we will continue to keep our patrons and supporters engaged with our successful SSO Homegrown series and other virtual entertainment initiatives.”

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, a longtime fan of the SSO, agrees that the organization’s future is bright. “We all recognize that these are unprecedented and surreal times and truly appreciate everyone’s continued patience and understanding as we continue to work together to defeat this COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. The Springfield Symphony Orchestra is a staple of our local arts and culture. They are an


important and intricate part of the City’s and Western Massachusetts’s arts and culture. I am positive that the Springfield Symphony Orchestra will come back, as we all will, bigger and stronger, with the continued support and philanthropic efforts of our Springfield community and surrounding area. I am reminded of this past year’s Holiday Pops Show, which I had the honor of being part of and can’t wait to enjoy the warmth and triumph when all the shows return.”

Maestro Kevin Rhodes, who is celebrating his 20th season with the SSO in 2020-2021, is also confident in the SSO’s outlook going forward. “Just as the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, like society in general, has picked itself up after world wars, terrorist attracts, recessions, tornados, and every other imaginable setback, so will it again rise phoenix-like from the ashes of this terrible moment in human history to provide the kind of soul-nourishing and uplifting communal experiences for which the organization is famous and has a justifiably long history of doing. I cannot wait to provide our listeners once again with the singular beauty and power of live music. Indeed once we are able to resume activities, I am confident there will be a renewed appreciation for the act of coming together that will add an incredible dimension to every performance. Much is made these days about what is called an essential business and what that means. While from a safety standpoint we are not categorized as an essential business by the Commonwealth and have been told we must wait for the highest level of clearance before resuming activities, I remain steadfast in maintaining that music and the arts ARE essential and am constantly reminded just HOW essential art and entertainment are in these days especially. I also remain hopeful that the fluidity of the situation will also mean that we could resume presenting concerts again sooner rather than later!”

SSO President Robyn Newhouse summed it up: “Though the Governor’s plan to reopen Massachusetts indicates that live symphonic performances are on hold for an indeterminate period, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra continues to work on plans for our return to the stage. We fully expect these furloughs to be temporary. We have also been exploring ways to continue to contribute to the cultural life of the region, even during this shutdown — online and through some of our educational programs. And we hope to be back better than ever as soon as possible. We especially thank all of our patrons and donors who have contributed to help us keep some operations going while we are unable to perform.”

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About the Springfield Symphony Orchestra

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra has been part of the cultural landscape of the Pioneer Valley since 1944 and performs a series of classical and popular music concerts at Springfield Symphony Hall, as well as chamber music in other venues. For more information, email or visit the SSO’s website at