Heart of the High Plains: Amarillo Symphony

Heart of the High Plains

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — It’s like music to our ears, literally, hearing the Amarillo Symphony getting back to doing what they do best.

The Amarillo Symphony has been delighting panhandle residents for close to a century.

“We’re going on our 96th season. October 1924, a group of 12 women in the community started an ensemble just right down here on Polk Street where we office and started playing in the community. The following year it kind of went on to kind of a more full-fledged orchestra and it just started to build steam from there,” said Andrew Hay, Amarillo Symphony Executive Director.

The symphony endured some tough times during those 96 years including The Great Depression among others.

This year has brought another obstacle, the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Just like everybody else, we had to go into lockdown. There was a lot of unknown. We didn’t know what was going to happen. Something that’s unique to the symphony is we’ve been trying to find ways to perform when we can’t be at the Globe News Center for the Performing Arts, that’s been our challenge right now and going forward,” said Hay.

But the show must go on, so the symphony decided to record a series of digital concerts for their subscribers, which then made its way to social media, reaching a bigger audience.

“It was a small triumph, especially for the musicians just to be back in the hall and to perform together, make music together again after seven months of not doing that. It was an emotional moment and we’re very proud of the product,” said Hay.

It was a gesture of gratitude after the local community showed support to the musicians while they were on lockdown.

“We did a musician relief fund and we had patrons and people in the community donate money to the musicians, that went directly to the musicians who were hardest hit during the time. That was first and foremost something that was very humbling to us, to see the response from our community, from the panhandle. For us the performing arts organizations are doing well and flourishing even in difficult times. We feel just blessed to be doing business and that should be a good reflection on our city,” said Hay.

The Amarillo Symphony has announced that the live performance of the “Happy Holiday Pops” concert has been cancelled.

Current health concerns and the city’s restrictions on facilities have led the symphony to say it will re-envision what the “Happy Holiday Pops” concert will look like this year.

The symphony is planning to provide digital content for the “Happy Holiday Pops” and will contact patrons with more information.

If you have a ticket, you can call them at (806) 376-8782 to find out your options.

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