Wishing you all a happy and joyous holiday season!

Dear Members and Friends of the Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association:

I wish you all a happy and joyous holiday season!  This past year certainly has made us appreciate and reflect on the endless aspects of our lives that we accepted as routine and then lost through the COVID 19 pandemic mitigations and concerns.  For me, making music with colleagues and friends was a daily communion, whether I was at the university, conducting in Quincy, performing in the Quad Cities, or playing in my local church.  Summer dialogue with the QSOA General Manager and Board of Directors, revolved around a possible return to the stage with small chamber ensembles in safe spaces.  This was no simple request due to the daily changes in regional health conditions.  For example, we programmed two concerts that needed to be reconfigured in terms of group size and space requirements.  A variety of quarantine concerns required player substitutions and I began to think about securing a conductor sub if I became exposed.  Some of these changes took place just weeks or even days before the events.  I had feelings of excitement and fear as we met, and on any given day, it was unclear which emotion would dominate.  I appreciate all who came forward to help in such a variety of ways that are almost unimaginable.

Late in the summer, the board discussed the potential of creating and producing virtual programs that could be streamed to audiences at home.  It was certainly a cutting-edge idea that many organizations were pursuing but we had no background or history with the format.   Through many hours of planning, consulting and brainstorming, our organization put on our first concert that was recorded at the Kroc Center in November.  There are so many to thank – a pivotal component in all of this was the professional collaboration of the WGEM television team.  The performance audio was digitally recorded by Rick Bybee and imported to the beautiful three- camera production assembled by WGEM.  Our general manager, staff and board of directors researched the various ways to disburse the artistic product with our audiences and in a restricted world with endless considerations, we were sharing our regional performance art on YouTube via subscription.  WGEM will also offer the recent Christmas concert program to the local community on December 26 at 6 PM.

Like so many situations over the last nine months, it’s mind boggling.  I remember telling Jane that “we won’t know until we try,” and with a dash of simplicity, we headed on our way.   I’m proud of the products we’ve produced in a time of relentless restrictions.   These two programs are reflections of the General Manager and the Board of Directors’ determined and ambitious spirit.  I’m thankful for these contributors and their friendships along with the musicians that came forward to make music at a time when we didn’t think group interaction was possible.  As we count our blessings at the conclusion of this difficult calendar year, I most certainly include the creative family that is the QSOA.  Until the next rehearsal. . .


Bruce Briney