While the stage has remained dark for most of the Pikes Peak Philharmonic’s 2020 season, the spirit and drive of the popular community orchestra have remained strong as its musicians await the day they can perform for live audiences once more. In the meantime, the nonprofit organization is working hard to fundraise to fill the gaps caused by its abbreviated season and to continue to share its mission with Colorado Springs.
“Our mission is to develop musicianship and music appreciation among people in our region, both through playing opportunities in our auditioned orchestra and through affordable concerts for the public,” says Philharmonic Vice President Amy Plapp.
Each year, the Philharmonic presents a series of themed concerts — the truncated 2019-2020 season's theme was "Storms." The concerts, preceded by a lecture addressing the history of the selections and their composers, span all eras of classical music.
In addition to performances, the Philharmonic also engages in community outreach. Plapp is proud of the annual youth concerto competition, which offers one young musician the opportunity to play with the orchestra.
“This is a particularly enjoyable performance for us because year after year we are just amazed at the level of talent that is out there in our community,” says Plapp. “It is always difficult to choose a winner because so many of the contestants are playing at a high level.”
Plapp says that the musicians’ heart for music is a key part of what makes the orchestra so special.
“We like to say that our musicians play for love, rather than money. All of our members make a living outside of the orchestra — as doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, engineers, full-time parents, retirees and other roles. But music has always been an important part of our lives. We practice in our spare time, maintain our instruments, fit rehearsals and concerts into our busy schedules and come together to make great music.”
Lately, coming together has not been possible. Plapp says the orchestra held its last rehearsal on March 10. Subsequently, the Philharmonic made the painful decision to cancel all rehearsals and shutter for the season to ensure the safety of both musicians and audiences.
“Like all large musical ensembles, we face great uncertainty as a result of the pandemic,” says Plapp. “We need information on how to gather safely, and how to evaluate rehearsal and performance spaces for proper ventilation.” She notes that once performances and rehearsals resume, the organization will still have a need to fundraise to facilitate a faster recovery from its canceled 2020 season.
“We maintain our musicianship through individual practice and participation in online arts activities, but we look forward to the day when we can meet as a group and reconnect with our audience,” says Plapp.
Editor's note: The concert series originally listed as part of this article are those of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, not the Pikes Peak Philharmonic. We regret the error.