1. Music

The Florida Orchestra announces changes to their fall season

The season won't start until October, performances will be shorter and they will offer livestreams of select Masterworks concerts.

Mark Cantrell, president and CEO of The Florida Orchestra, announced updates to the fall season in a blog post on the company’s website Thursday.

“I could not be more proud of our musicians and staff who have kept the music playing online to lift up our community, but we are determined to bring you LIVE performances,” Cantrell wrote in the post. “At the same time, the health and safety of everyone is absolutely our top priority.

“We are hopeful we can do both by making changes to our fall season.

“Yes, your concert experience will be different, but you will not be disappointed by the depth and passion of the music.”

The start of the season will be pushed back about a month to the end of October, and an updated schedule of concerts will be announced in September, with “flexible options” for season ticket holders.

Music director Michael Francis is changing the repertoire to use fewer musicians to allow for extra spacing on stage. Concerts will be shorter, about 75 minutes with no intermission. And the audience will be smaller so that seating can be spaced out to allow for social distancing.

For the first time, select Masterworks concerts will be livestreamed so those who don’t feel comfortable going out can enjoy the music from home.

However, Cantrell advised, everything is subject to change due to the uncertainty of COVID-19. He said they are working with their venues to ensure CDC guidelines and are exploring outdoor and alternate venues as necessary.

He thanked the community for their “unwavering support” and said that those who continued to donate to the orchestra “made a huge difference in these difficult times.”

“The music of the Florida Orchestra is courage, hope, joy, grief – everything people are feeling in this pandemic,” Cantrell wrote. “As long as it is safe to do so, we will find a way to perform because we know music helps people cope. It reminds us of the deeper meaning in our lives. It has been the heart and soul of this orchestra and the Tampa Bay community for more than 52 years.”