Sonoma County Music, Theater Events Cancelled, Postponed As COVID Order Bans Large Gatherings

Entertainment venues in Sonoma County were working to postpone and reschedule events over the next four weeks, responding to the latest local restrictions on large gatherings deemed too risky by county health officials amid a spike without precedent of cases related to the omicron variant.

It was a follow-up to the overnight reshuffle that hit performance halls, concert halls and symphony halls amid the first shutdown orders nearly two years ago at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, indoor gatherings of more than 50 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 100 are banned for 30 days, in response to the county’s dramatically rising COVID-19 case rates. This means that concerts, theater performances and more are suspended for the time being. (Exemptions have been granted for certain schools, workplaces and religious gatherings, as well as museums, shopping malls and restaurants.)

For the arts and entertainment world, it was a sharp turnaround after months of slow recovery, with live shows gaining momentum and more concerts and performances scheduled than a year ago. .

Many sites were still working on backlogs of past events.

Now they will suspend or postpone their plans until at least mid-February, again leaving an already vulnerable but important slice of the local economy in pandemic limbo.

At the 1,600-seat Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, the new restrictions will affect 10 upcoming large-scale events, said Rick Nowlin, its president and CEO.

“While the long-term impact of COVID has been devastating to live performances, the health of our community is paramount, and all of us at LBC will continue to play a role in helping to keep people safe,” said Nowlin in a statement.

“We will immediately begin work to postpone and reschedule, or cancel where there is no other alternative, 10 large-scale events planned by February 11,” he added.

People with tickets to upcoming events, estimated at 5,400 patrons, should anticipate emails and phone calls from the Luther Burbank Center and should check the center’s website for updates.

Anita Wiglesworth, vice president of programs and marketing at Luther Burbank Center, noted that the venue has already faced a pile of rescheduled events due to the pandemic. The last command will be another success.

“It will affect events that were previously rescheduled due to COVID and are now sold out,” she said.

Even before Monday’s announcement from the county, the Santa Rosa Symphony Orchestra was forced to pivot amid a series of concerts over the weekend and into Monday night due to a COVID test- 19 positive and exposure affecting artists.

Saturday night’s show, featuring the symphony with pianist Olga Kern and the debut of a new work by composer Gabriella Smith, went ahead as planned at the Green Music Center.

But the Sunday and Monday concerts have been significantly reduced; Just three musicians on Monday, after a brass player disclosed exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and a string player said he tested positive for COVID-19.

“Due to extreme caution and concern for our musicians, we have prevented all members of the orchestra from performing tonight,” symphony president and CEO Alan Silow said in a statement. a letter, sent before the county announced the new restrictions, to ticket holders for Monday’s concert.

The symphony’s next concert, scheduled for February 12-14, will take place after the 30-day new restrictions end. It will feature an all-American program and pianist Michelle Cann will perform Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

The Lost Church, an intimate downtown Santa Rosa venue with an eclectic lineup ranging from singers to magicians, has been hampered by pandemic restrictions since opening amid the health crisis.

Most artists scheduled to perform this month have canceled or postponed their shows due to rising COVID-19 cases, Josh Windmiller, director of development for The Lost Church, said Monday afternoon.

So far, the January 15 appearance by musicians Kendra McKinley and Tay and the Janglahdahs, as well as a January 23 performance by singers Emma Noren and Nat Lefkoff, have been cancelled.

Lost Church operations director Michele Kappel said she would work to postpone, rather than cancel, the January and early February events.

“A lot of us wonder, ‘Is it the right thing to do to keep coming together? “, Kappel said. “We roll with the punches. We’ve been through it once; we’ll do it again. We want our audience to stay safe and our artists to feel comfortable performing.

Here is a list of canceled entertainment events as of Wednesday, January 12:

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