After the longest off-season in the group's history, the Billings Symphony experienced a little normalcy this weekend with three performances to start its 2020 schedule.
The symphony celebrated its 70th year and played the very first show at its new temporary home, the Lockwood Performing Arts Center at the new high school.
"This is first time that the Billings Symphony will perform in this venue," said Ignacio Barron Viela, executive director for the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale. "I believe this is the first time this venue hosts a symphony. Now more than ever, our audiences need the power of music to bring us together, to keep inspiring us."
"Oh it's critical," Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale music director Anne Harrigan said about performing live. "Music is our lifeblood. It's like breathing to us and being denied of that companionship musically has been suffocating."
In the last year, the symphony has played at the Alberta Bair Theater, the Lincoln Center Auditorium and now in Lockwood.
"The acoustics are fantastic," Harrigan said about the Lockwood venue. "It's one of nicest halls I've played in for a long time."
"This is probably the best venue that a high school has in the whole state of Montana," Barron Viela said. "So we are really proud to perform here this year."
"I think it's a wonderful opportunity to get exposure for our school," said Q Staton, Lockwood High School choir and theater director. "And it's an absolutely amazing facility. This is an unbelievable thing that the community supported and voted on and acted on and they spoke and we got it."
Staton said the venue provides an opportunity for his students.
"Can't wait to get our kids up there performing concerts as well," he said.
"You know in this difficult times, our hearts go to the ones that are suffering," Barron Viela said. "And we know that music has the capacity and ability to heal and to bring hope and to restore emotions."
"To have that feeling that this has been around forever, orchestras are like redwoods I always like to say," Harrigan said. "Having that assurance that the music no matter what, I think it's very important."
The symphony's next performance is set for Oct. 10 at the Babcock Theater.