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Symphony capping off 49th season with free virtual concert Saturday

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The Georgian Bay Symphony will be closing out its 49th season Saturday night with a free virtual concert as planning continues to stage a hybrid 50th season in 2021-22 featuring both digital and live concerts.

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Saturday’s event will be streamed at 7 p.m. on the symphony’s YouTube channel and will include works by Vivaldi, Mozart and popular movements from Bizet’s Carmen.

“We all know how uplifting music can be and the symphony wants to do its part to raise our community’s spirits and remind us that there are still great things happening right here in Grey-Bruce,” said GBS manager David Adair.

The symphony usually holds its concerts at East Ridge Community School’s auditorium in Owen Sound. But it moved the events online in spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, capping off its 48th season with virtual concerts in May and June 2020.

Adair said the local symphony was the only community orchestra in Canada to produce a full season of virtual concerts, which it did for the 49th season that began in October.

Members rehearsed together over Zoom and used something called a click track, which provides a series of audio cues to synchronize recordings, to record themselves.

Saturday’s season finale will be about an hour long, Adair said. Streaming will begin 15 minutes before the recorded concert starts. People can view the concert by looking for the premiere event entitled GBS Francois and Friends.

Adair said the background for the concert will showcase sunsets from around Grey-Bruce.

“All of our GBS musicians, conductor, business manager and board members have all worked hard this year to produce a digital season of beautiful music. We are thrilled to offer our community the final concert of the season,” GBS board chair Nancy MacDonald said in a statement.

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Music director Francois Koh said he’s “very excited” about the 50th season and is looking forward to meeting everyone at East Ridge when public health restrictions allow.

Adair said the plan, at this point, is to hold a virtual concert in October to kick off the 50th season.

The symphony is hoping to be able to stage its annual Christmas concert at East Ridge, but will hold it virtually if that’s not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions, he said.

The plan is to hold in-person concerts at East Ridge in February, March and May.

Adair said the symphony will hold a celebration for its 50th anniversary during the 2022-23 season.

“We wanted to celebrate that 50th accomplishment in a full year of live concerts,” he said. “So it will be our 50th plus one-year celebration.”

Adair said subscriptions for the 50th season will go on sale this weekend.

Visit georgianbaysymphony.ca for more information.

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