The symphony will perform for live in-person audiences at the Kauffman Center

The Kansas City Symphony performing at the Kauffman Center/Eric Williams courtesy of KC Symphony

Another sign that the pandemic is nearing its conclusion: The Kansas City Symphony announced Tuesday that it will welcome live, in-person audiences to the Kauffman Center in May and June.

One day after Mayor Quinton Lucas lifted all occupancy limits for indoor gatherings, the symphony will be back—though it’s keeping well below capacity, with attendance at only 20% of what the venue seats.

“We will again feel the exhilaration of being together with our audiences in Helzberg Hall,” Music Director Michael Stern said in a press release. “At no point during this season or last did the music ever stop for us. We brought music around the community all season long, and I was grateful for all the internet connectedness that our digital world afforded us. But there is no substitute for the special communion that occurs between all of us on stage and those listening in person, surrounded by the miraculous acoustics of Helzberg Hall.”

The first piece to be performed upon return on Wednesday, May 26? Appropriately, it’s Aaron Copland’s uplifting World War II-era “Fanfare for the Common Man.” That show will also include Atlanta-born composer Carlos Simon’s “The Warm Of Other Suns,” a new piece about the Great Migration of African Americans to the north following industrualization. It’s based on a Pulitzer-winning novel.

The symphony’s Executive Director Danny Beckley says he’s been working with KU Med, which has advised them on how to “maximize the safety of all involved.”

“We believe that we can safely perform for live audiences once again,” he said in the press release. “There will of course be protocols in place, such as seat distancing requirements, mask mandates and extensive cleaning procedures. But it is time for our return to in-person attendance, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

The full schedule is here.

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