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‘The show must go on’: Pioneer Valley Symphony celebrates full virtual season with decades-old Holiday Concert tradition

December 3, 2020

Greenfield, MA

Although the year 2020 has seen the temporary closing of many local arts and cultural organizations throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond, this fall the Pioneer Valley Symphony (PVS) has been busier than ever. 


“Many community orchestras and choirs have had to scale back because of the pandemic, but we found ourselves wanting to do more,” said Tianhui Ng, Music Director. “All our ensembles have figured out some way to meet, we’ve adapted all our season offerings to be virtual and we actually added a brand new virtual lecture series to our programming.” 


The PVS ensembles, which include a community Orchestra, Youth Orchestra and Chorus have all found creative ways to keep making music together this fall. For example, some orchestra members have been gathering in small, socially distant chamber groups who Zoom in weekly with Music Director Tianhui Ng for consultation. Some members of the strings section of the Youth Orchestra have likewise been practicing together outdoors. Chorus members have been meeting online through regular virtual “Meet & Sings” with Chorus Director Sarah Paquet and compiling a virtual choral performance. 


This December, as the PVS has done for the past many decades, all of the ensembles will be sharing back their music as part of the annual Holiday Concert. Although happening on Zoom this year, the concert will still feature the work of all the ensembles as well as opportunities to sing and play along to festive music.


“It’s always one of my favorite performances of the year,” said Janna Walters-Gidseg, longtime Chorus member. “We get to see what everyone across the organization has been working on and we get to be together as a big musical family. That feels especially important this year.” 


The PVS is issuing a special invitation to all regional community choirs, orchestras, and symphonies to join them for their 2020 Holiday Concert, especially those members of ensembles that have had to cancel their fall events. “We know a lot of singers, musicians and music lovers are finding themselves without a holiday home this year,” said Krisitin Donohue, PVS Board President. “We want you to know that PVS welcomes everyone to our virtual programs and that you can find a warm, musical community here.” 


The Holiday Concert, set for Saturday, December 12 at 7PM, will include opportunities to sing and play along to holiday classics as well as feature recorded compilations from the PVS Orchestra, Youth Orchestra and Virtual Choir. Tickets can be purchased online at the PVS website, Complimentary access to PVS events is also available through a partnership with over 30 regional libraries. Readers are encouraged to ask their local library about free access to PVS events.

This event is sponsored by Greenfield Cooperative Bank. The 2020-2021 PVS Presents Season is also made possible in part by generous support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and New England Public Media.

About: The Pioneer Valley Symphony, one of the oldest community orchestras in the nation, has been bringing exceptional live symphonic and choral music to the Pioneer Valley for over 80 years. ​Founded in Greenfield in 1939, the PVS ensembles perform high-quality symphonic and choral music primarily in Franklin and Hampshire Counties of Massachusetts, drawing its volunteer musicians and eager audiences from across the Pioneer Valley and the Northeast.

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