Throughout the pandemic, Longmont Symphony Orchestra has kept fans of classical music entertained with a number of virtual offerings. While Sunday was supposed to mark the ensemble’s final performance of the season, with a livestream from Longmont Museum, the county’s COVID restrictions on gatherings forced musicians to reexamine plans. Instead of a group getting together to play Handel’s “Messiah” at a venue, viewers will be treated to a 4 p.m. holiday concert, featuring pianist Spencer Myer and baritone Mario Diaz-Moresco livestreamed from their New York City home.
The performance will include classical selections from Handel and Schubert and some holiday favorites. Season tickets, and those purchased separately for the original “Messiah” show, will be honored for this performance.
Tickets are $35.
We caught up with music director Elliot Moore to discuss what folks can expect from Sunday’s new lineup, what future virtual seasons will deliver, his wish to help build a premier performing arts center in Longmont and his undying love for jazz on vinyl.
Daily Camera: Since October, you’ve kept classical music fans entertained with several virtual performances. What has your experience been like switching to this new online platform?
Elliot Moore: Switching to an online platform for classical music in Longmont was not something that happened overnight at the Longmont Symphony. Initially, it stemmed from an idea that we had to create a TV show during the pandemic, called “Music & Moore.” The idea of “Music & Moore” was to serve the dual purpose of keeping our audience engaged during the pandemic while capturing the minds of SVVSD music students who were participating in band, orchestra and choir via distance learning. Once I discovered the power of combining music and TV during the pandemic, the idea of bringing the symphony to our audience in a virtual setting was a natural extension. Ultimately, the driver in our efforts to present a compelling virtual season has been to stay true to our mission and vision, which is to serve and enrich our extended community through artistic excellence and where music is the catalyst that deepens the awareness of our shared humanity.
DC: What can we expect from the Dec. 13 performance?
EM: Pianist Spencer Myer and baritone Mario Diaz-Moresco were a natural fit to bring us music that expresses the joy, mystery, inspiration and wonder that the holiday season holds. The sounds of the season will be on full display as they present a recital from their home in New York. When the restrictions made it impossible for us to safely film our performance of Handel’s “Messiah” with our musicians, I knew that they would make a wonderful substitute.
DC: Do you have plans to offer any in-person socially distanced concerts in the near future or do you have other virtual offerings planned we can look forward to?
EM: The board and staff at the LSO have been so forward-thinking and have exhibited leadership during the pandemic. Our success would not have been possible without their commitment to upholding our institutional values. With our virtual fall season being so successful, we have not only added a virtual spring season but, for the first time in our 54-year history, will launch a virtual summer season as well. I am very excited about the world-class artistry that we will be sharing with our audience this spring and summer. As we get into the warmer months, we look forward to recording larger sized orchestral works outdoors that we will share in a virtual setting with our audience. We are cautiously optimistic that with the vaccine’s arrival and efficacy, we will have a fall 2021 season that resembles something more familiar to our symphony fans.
DC: From reading your bio on your site, I know that even prior to the pandemic, your mission is always to uplift others through music. What has feedback been from virtual viewers this season?
EM: Yes, the 21st-century orchestra’s role is to inspire, connect with and perform for people both inside and outside our concert hall. To this end, I knew that we had to find a way to lift our audience’s spirits outside the walls of the concert hall during the pandemic. The feedback and response from our audience have been huge. People have shared that these performances have brought tears to their eyes, have been a bright spot in their lives during this time and that they feel a sense of connectivity and community. Many of our performances include a live question-and-answer segment where our audience can call in and converse in real-time with these world-renowned artists. The exceptional feedback that we have received leads everyone at the LSO to view our virtual musical offerings as something that has so much value that we are considering keeping — and expanding — on our virtual musical offerings, even once we continue with our regular in-person subscription concert series.
DC: I know you have a long history with classical music, but I’m curious what other genres or artists folks would be surprised to hear you are a fan of?
EM: Many people wonder what I listen to during my downtime. I rarely put on classical music. Instead, I put on one of the many jazz LPs that I’ve found at our local record store gem, Absolute Vinyl, in downtown Longmont. I most often listen to jazz legends like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Herbie Hancock, among many others. Last night as I was cooking dinner, I played a recording of Oscar Peterson playing with the great jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli. One of the musical highlights for me each year is the Longmont Jazz Festival. I am grateful to everyone at the Longmont Jazz Association for bringing such fine Jazz to Longmont.
DC: Lastly, while the future remains uncertain, do you have any goals for Longmont Symphony you’d like to see come to fruition?
EM: I have several goals for the LSO, which I am eagerly awaiting to come to fruition. One of our goals is to realize our vision to build a state-of-the-art performing arts center right here in Longmont. While we are tremendously grateful that we have such fine facilities to perform in, there is no dedicated performance space for music. By many people’s standards, an orchestra is only as good as the musicians in it, but I will tell you that an orchestra is only as good as the hall they play in. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put the arts on the map — literally and figuratively — and I am working every day to bring us closer to achieving this goal. In the meantime, one of my goals is to bring opera to Longmont. Opera is the culmination of so many different artistic disciplines: orchestral music, vocal music, acting, theater, visual art, etc. Some may think of opera as highbrow art. However, from Gershwin to Gilbert and Sullivan and Mozart comic operas to Verdi’s tragic operas, there is truly something for everyone in this rich and varied artistic medium. I initially fell in love with opera when I was 13 years old. I attended the Dallas Opera’s final performance in their run of “Lucia di Lammermoor” and the melodrama — complete with a crazed woman who stabs her groom on their wedding day, meandering on stage in her white wedding dress, which has been doused in obscene amounts of fake blood, only to sing high Ds as she goes insane — was so much fun. I mean, who wouldn’t love something that over the top.