ESO cancels holiday concert

Santa with singers from the Evanston Children's Choir at an ESO holiday concert.

The Evanston Symphony Orchestra is canceling its holiday concert for fear it could turn into a COVID-19 "super-spreader" event.

Choral singing has been linked to several outbreaks of the pandemic disease.

ESO Music Director Lawrence Eckerling says, “Without the North Shore Choral Society, the Evanston Symphony Holiday Gospel Choir and the Evanston’s Children’s Choir, as well as the Evanston Dance Ensemble" -- all part of the annual holiday concert program -- "the event is just not possible.”

In addition, the ESO's regular season debut program, planned for Oct. 25, will be postponed. The ESO still hopes to hold the remaining events of its 75th anniversary season beginning with a concert scheduled for Feb. 14.

Board president and orchestra member Cheryl Haack said, “The ESO is fortunate in that it entered the pandemic in a healthy financial condition, although these extraordinary circumstances require the sustained financial support of the community.”

During the hiatus, the ESO has launched a newsletter Noteworthy that includes newly recorded videos of Maestro Eckerling performing duets with Concertmaster Julia Fischer and Principal Flutist James Donahue.

The newsletters also include “Larry’s Recommendations,” music that is sustaining him during the pandemic. These videos can be found at ESO Videos, where past ESO performances, including symphonies by Brahms and Sibelius, can be viewed.

Subscriptions to the anniversary season are available on the website or by calling general manager David Ellis at 847-864-8804.

Donations can also be made through the website and by phone.

“We are anxious to get back to performing,” said Haack. “The board and Larry will continue to monitor the situation and get back on stage as soon as it is safe for all involved.”

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