The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra welcomed a live audience for the first time in 454 days on Saturday.
“The musicians are just so excited to have even 50 people come back in, to have that energy, to have that response is a blessing in many ways,” VSO vice-president of marketing Neil Middleton told Global News.
“We’re so excited, this is a first step forward.”
The orchestra has scheduled four live performances between Saturday and next weekend, all for a crowd of 50 — in line with relaxed provincial COVID-19 orders for in-person gatherings.
Middleton said more than 1,300 people submitted entries in hopes of getting a chance to see the live performance.
Lucky attendees included long-time supporters of the orchestra and front-line workers including doctors and nurses.
Middleton said the orchestra will be taking a break over the summer, with an announcement about plans for live audiences at the 2,500-seat Orpheum Theatre to come at some point in late summer.
“Whether we can have 500, 1,000, (or) 1,500 people in the concert hall, we’ll be ready.”
The VSO has been broadcasting performances virtually during the pandemic — something Middleton said will continue.