Masks Are Back as are Musical Events in Chicago

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“Vax Up, Mask Up, Curtain Up” isn’t a rap. It’s a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy that lets musical venues across Chicagoland safely open for indoor performances. The protection protocol that currently requires masked patrons to be vaccinated will be reviewed regularly, with the ability to relax certain provisions as the science dictates.

“For the past 17 months, performing arts organizations and venues in our city have planned and painstakingly prepared to welcome artists, crew, staff, and audiences back to the stage,” says President and CEO Lori Dimun of Harris Theater for Music and Dance. “As our seasons of indoor performances approach, our greatest priority is to ensure a safe return for everyone entering our spaces so that we can once again, in community with each other, experience the power and exhilaration of live performance.”

Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC) will perform at the Harris Theater (Oct. 22 – 23) with a new company of 13 dancers. “Our return to the Harris stage is monumental for so many reasons,” says GDC Artistic Director Nan Giordano. “It is a new day for GDC and we can’t wait to celebrate the start of our 59th season.” Among the pieces featured in the program are “Flickers” (2019) by Marinda Davis and Autumn Eckman’s lighthearted romp “A Little Moonlight” (2010).

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) begins its 44th season with an All American Opening Night (Oct. 16) at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights. The evening features work by Florence Price, who made history in 1933 as the first African-American woman to have a symphony performed by a major U.S. orchestra, an event that took place in Chicago.

The concert also includes Eric Ewazen’s oboe concerto “Down a River of Time” and a world premiere performance by dancers from the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet dancing to Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.”

“The exciting season is not just about our jubilation in returning to perform for live audiences,” explains IPO Executive Director Christina Salerno. “It’s also about pushing IPO’s artistic boundaries — furthering our commitment to presenting works by great, but historically lesser-known composers, even while we build new partnerships with extraordinary artists from multiple disciplines.”

The Joffrey Ballet kicks off its season at the Lyric Opera House and marks its return to live performances with “Home: a Celebration” (Oct. 13 – 24). “A year away from the stage has given all of us a new perspective on the power and necessity of the arts,” says Greg Cameron, President and CEO of the Joffrey. “Our upcoming season is about hope, renewal, and joy, and there is no better place to celebrate those themes than amongst a live audience at Lyric Opera House.”

Chicago soprano Ailyn Pérez plays the flirtatious Adina in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “The Elixir of Love” (Sep. 26 – Oct. 8). Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage, Maestro Enrique Mazzola leads the Lyric Opera Orchestra in bringing the Donizetti work to life. “We are united in our efforts to keep the health and safety of our audiences, artists and staff paramount,” notes Anthony Freud, Lyric’s General Director, President and CEO. “Though the policies of individual artistic companies across the city may vary, depending on their audiences and facilities, our goal is clearly the same as we build the safest path back to live performances.”

The 65th Anniversary season of Chicago Children’s Choir (CCC) marks a return to in-person performances and programs for students (ages 8-18) without prior experience. “For six and a half decades, Chicago Children’s Choir has been on the ground doing the work to make a better world through the power of music,” says Josephine Lee, CCC President. “We’re at a crossroads. Our youth crave connections with each other, connections that experts tell us they desperately need. So we’re providing opportunities for our community and youth to connect and engage with each other. We honestly cannot wait to invite Chicago to join us as we build a more harmonious world together.”

In Naperville, Chicago Sinfonietta’s 34th season begins with “New Folk” at Wentz Concert Hall (Sep. 18) featuring conductor Mei-Ann Chen and guest violinist violinist Tessa Lark, while, in celebration of the Indian holiday of Diwali, Mandala South Asian Performing Arts presents a family-friendly, outdoor performance of “The Story of Ram” (Oct. 9) at the Naper Settlement.

“The Naper Settlement is a historical site representing the history of Naperville, Illinois, USA, and The Story of Ram is a tradition that migrated to the U.S. with immigrants from India,” explains Mandala Founder and Executive Artistic Director Pranita Nayar. “So it is two cultural traditions melding with each other: the cultural artifact that existed and practiced traditions brought here with new waves of people.”

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Photo: Mandala South Asian Performing Arts by Monika Bahroos

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Ms. Arvia is an online columnist and critic; entertainment ghostwriter reaching nine million visitors per month; award-winning artist; grant-winning filmmaker; and Janet-of-all-trades. Press releases on Chicago cultural events and links to screeners can be sent to reeljanet@live.com.