CLT Symphony performs in front of live audience for first time in over a year

North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46) – It has been a roller coaster for many theatres like Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. It’s been hosting virtual and outdoor events at a limited capacity just to stay afloat.

Saturday night, season ticket holders got the chance to go back inside to hear something some say they haven’t heard in over a year: a live symphony in person.

The Charlotte Symphony played for the first time at the Belk Theatre in Uptown in over a year. Susan Lantz said it’s a way to return to some normalcy. The theater lost 90 percent of its revenue because of the pandemic, according to the Charlotte Observer. The symphony saw ticket sales drop, too.

“There’s something about seeing it in person that you can’t get when you’re streaming it on zoom,” Lantz said. “It’s so great to be coming out of this whole year and the pandemic and everything else so I guess it just signifies hope and happiness and joy.”

About 260 people were allowed inside. They used their phone or pre-printed tickets to sign in. Limited seating was available and people were spaced out throughout the theatre.

Face coverings were mandatory and mingling was kept at a minimum. These safety measures are a few in place to make people like Rich Sampson and his wife Sandy feel safe.

“Once you’re in your seats you can’t go in and out,” Rich said. “You stay at your seats so it will keep people from crossing back and forth in the lobby.”

For Stew Malter, it’s music to his ears attending a live in-person performance. He’s missed attending some of the annual concerts that were canceled this year.

Right now, places like the Belk Theatre can operate at 50 percent capacity. The theatre is only allowing about 30 percent in and that’s to ensure people are staying spaced apart.

Organizers said they worked with Atrium Health to ensure they followed safety protocols. The performance will be available to re-watch in June as part of a virtual Classical Series Reimagined.

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