LAWTON, Okla. — The Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra has canceled its July 18 concert as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The concert was to be the final concert of the orchestra’s 2019-2020 season, “The Concerto Games.” The concert was originally scheduled for April 25 and then rescheduled for July 18. According to Patty Neuwirth, the orchestra’s executive director, the concert was to feature 73 live musicians on stage at the McMahon Memorial Auditorium.
“As much as we hate to cancel the concert, we feel it was the best thing to do for the safety of our patrons and musicians,” she said. “It would have been impossible to successfully social distance all 73 musicians plus our Maestro and stage crew.”
As for season ticket holders and those who have already purchased tickets for the concert, the orchestra is asking their patrons to donate their ticket costs back to the orchestra.
“While canceling any event is not an ideal situation, we find ourselves in less than ‘ideal’ circumstances,” said David Jackson, the orchestra’s board president. “We respect the fact that our concerts are part of our musicians income, and they are ‘out of work.’ But we also take the safety of our patrons and musicians very seriously. We will offer refunds to our season subscribers if necessary, but hope that they would consider donating the ticket value to LPO so we can pay our musicians at least a partial amount. Having a live symphony orchestra in our city enhances the quality of life for many and we look forward to the day when we can return to doing what we love doing in front of a healthy, vibrant audience.”
The orchestra’s Maestro, Jon Kalbfleisch, is currently reworking the orchestra’s 2020-2021 season to accommodate social distancing of musicians and patrons.
“We are devastated that very act of gathering to play and listen to live music is currently a health hazard, and we are greatly saddened at being unable to share the music of Williams, Ravel and Bartok with everyone this season,” Kalbfleisch said. “We know that the Lawton Philharmonic also provides opportunities and inspiration for young musicians and students, which makes us a vital asset to the community. At present, we are working on a special season that we hope to bring to you in any way we possibly can, including at McMahon Auditorium, where there is ample room for distancing.”
For more information or to make a donation, please contact the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra at 580-531-5043.