For most everyone on earth, dealing with this global situation has been heartbreaking in a lot of ways. Here at your Tucson Symphony Orchestra, we were one day away from sharing Shostakovich 12 with our amazing audience when we abruptly had to pack up our instruments and leave the Music Hall. Our season wouldn’t resume, and we wouldn’t have the chance to play the epic Mahler 2 a couple of weeks later. We also wouldn’t get to play for thousands of children during the education weeks we present each spring.
All of that was tough news to receive. But even harder is feeling this disconnection that looms over us all. We listen to split-screen, overdubbed performance collaborations, which amaze us. We listen to Digital Concert Hall, Broadway HD, and YouTube performances, all of which inspire us. But through it all, there’s simply nothing that ignites our senses and our spirits in the way that live performances do.
There’s something that happens in a crowded concert hall during every live performance that makes us feel deeply connected. The notes are lifted off the page by the orchestra and stirred to life, but it’s not until that final moment of playing for an audience that the full effect is felt. When there is an audience in the room to receive and share the experience…when everyone can sit shoulder to shoulder, feeling the same emotions at the same time, a communal pulse of the human spirit can be felt. That’s what we’re missing. That’s why this is so difficult.
Even when stepping into an empty concert hall, you can feel the energy that has lived in it…it’s a collective memory that hangs in the air. Every concert hall on Earth sits empty right now and, in a way, that image represents the whole disconnection of our world at this moment. All the wonderful online experiences in the world can’t replace that.
There will come a day when life will return to the world’s concert halls. There will come a day when we can feel that joyous, cathartic feeling of live music and human connection once again. But for now, let’s enjoy artistic experiences on screens. Let’s applaud the creativity and work ethic that produces these on-screen wonders, and let’s be thankful for the technology that allows us to have it. Let’s try to find ways to communicate while we’re apart, and our souls will wait for the day that we can be connected again.
Betsy Bright, trumpet, has been a member of the Tucson Symphony trumpet section since 2003 and she is also a member of the TSO Brass Quintet, Monsoon Brass, True Concord Voices & Orchestra, and the Tucson Pops Orchestra. Additionally, Betsy has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Louis Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Opera, American Wind Symphony, Britt Music Festival, Hot Springs Music Festival, and Bay View Music Festival.
Betsy is also a deeply committed trumpet teacher. She has maintained a private trumpet studio since 1997 and she is the founder and director of Tucson Brass Workshop. Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, Betsy studied at the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia. She graduated summa cum laude in 2003 with a Bachelor of Music in trumpet performance and a minor in composition. Betsy is married to TSO principal tuba, David Morgan. They live with their adorable sons, Max and Oliver, and their Italian Greyhound, Giuseppe.