WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — The COVID-19 pandemic has sidelined many events over the past couple of years.
“The Amherst Symphony Orchestra, in its 75th year, has been impacted tremendously by COVID,” general manager of the Amherst Symphony Orchestra Joan Fishburn said.
But for the first time in two years, the Amherst Symphony Orchestra played one of their five regularly scheduled free concerts.
“Two years,” Fishburn said. “Which is very difficult for a volunteer community orchestra to survive that way.”
Fishburn said the orchestra usually performs within the Amherst School District, but that has not been possible due to the pandemic.
So, they turned to saint Gregory’s church in Williamsville.
“I’m thrilled that we are able to give you a home for today and have an opportunity to share you with our community at St. Greg’s,” director of music ministry at St. Gregory the Great Church, Nancy Erdman said.
“I think the word is gratitude from both of us,” Fishburn said.
The theme of the concert was ‘A Patriotic Pause,’ featuring Lincoln Portrait by Aaron Copland; Fishburn said the timing worked out perfectly with president’s day on Monday.
Plus, medal of honor recipient David Bellavia was part of the program.
“These are the signs that we are coming back from COVID,” Bellavia said.
Bellavia said he is glad to be going to events like this again.
“These are the small things that we didn’t realize we missed,” Bellavia said. “But we do miss our music, we miss our people, we miss our community, so this is good for everyone.”
Fishburn and Bellavia said they are proud to have this orchestra in the community.
“We’re just grateful,” Fishburn said. “We love music, and we love sharing music and we’re able to do that together.”
“They’re fantastic,” Bellavia said. “We’ve got to support our arts, especially when they’re in our own communities.”