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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Orchestra Will Perform For The First Time Since March

Rockford Symphony Orchestra.

Phase 4 of the “Restore Illinois” plan allows outdoor concerts to take place as long as the audience doesn’t exceed 20% of the normal venue capacity. That could still be a lot more than the number allowed indoors. So, most bands have opted to have outdoor concerts this summer. A Rockford music organization is following this same tune. 

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra is having its first concert since March. Proceeds from the concerts will support the musicians of the orchestra. Most of them haven't worked since the pandemic started. 

Julie Thomas is the executive director of the orchestra. She said music is essential to the community.  

“I think music can be a very healing experience," she said. "It is as important for our health as wearing a mask and as social distancing. And I think we need this for our souls as much as we need it for our health.” 

Michele McAffee is the marketing director of the orchestra. She says the performances would not be possible without the help of the Winnebago Heath Department and the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. She mentioned the RACVB's President & C-E-O.

“John Groh was very helpful in sending us in the right direction for people who could help us strategically put the concert together," McAffee shared. 

Patrons will sit 6 feet apart in each row and every other row will be empty. Face masks are required during the events.  

The hour long concerts will take place at the Sinnissippi Music Shell Saturday Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 13 at 3 and 5 p.m.  Tickets are $45 and must be purchased in advance.

The RSO will announce its fall schedule soon. Thomas said those performances will probably not happen at the Coronado Performance Arts Center due to Phase 4’s restriction of 50 people for indoor gatherings.  

  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.