BILLINGS - As pandemic numbers continue to decline, Montana continues to re-open.
The Billings Symphony became the latest business to return back a little bit of normal today holding it's first shows in front of a live audience in five months.
"Finally, it's been 5 months since the last time we performed in front of live audiences, and we are delighted to be back. And the orchestra is really looking forward to having that experience with the audiences," Billings Symphony Executive Director Ignacio Barrón Viela said.
The performances were held at the Lockwood Performing Arts Center.
"Oh it's so nice to see you, you guys are brave souls to come out in this weather. I'm so happy to see you. We have missed you so much, I can't even begin to tell you," Billings Symphony Music Director Anne Harrigan said to the live audience.
To limit gathering, the performance came without an intermission, and seats were spaced very generously.
"Three socially distanced performances are allowing everyone that wants to be here to be here and the flexibility to watch it online," Barrón Viela said.
The symphony again was made to improvise when COVID prevented their guest artist from entering the country-luckily, they had someone that was more than willing to fill in.
"We contacted the Artistic Advisor for Tippet Rise Art Center, Pedja Mužijević to ask if he would help us out, and we are so grateful," Harrigan said.
The pandemic has prompted the symphony to increase their online presence, a hybrid model they plan to utilize into the future.
"We will have pieces from Mozart, Strauss, and Tchaikovsky," Barrón Viela said, "So really it is a great program for the weekend and for the ones in love and for your families or beloveds, come and join us".
Needless to say, performers are thrilled to be playing in front of a responsive group again.
"As a musician it is so important to recieve that energy from the public, and I think that this is what we are really looking forward to today," Barrón Viela said.
In the future, the Symphony has plans to delve into diversity, and exploring indigenous inspirations and influences throughout music history.
There is a final matinee performance Sunday February 14th at 2 p.m.
For more information on future performances, to get tickets, or livestream, visit: https://billingssymphony.org