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Opera House Cancels Music Fest

The annual Bach & Beyond Baroque Music Festival at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center has been canceled for 2021.

FREDONIA — The 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center today announced the impact of the continued COVID crisis on two annual events – the 1891 Run and the Bach & Beyond Baroque Music Festival.

The 1891 Run, a 5K Walk/Run usually held in late April, has been rescheduled for July 18-31. The Bach & Beyond Baroque Music Festival has been canceled for 2021, according to Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis.

The 1891 Run, which serves as an annual fundraiser for the Opera House, will be held in a virtual format again this year. Runners will have the option of running the race on their own schedule during the two-week run period and running either the official race course or one of their own design. More information on registering for the race is forthcoming.

“Our biggest challenge in presenting the Bach & Beyond Baroque Music Festival,” Davis said, “is housing and feeding our musicians. We rely on the generosity of our supporters to host nightly dinners for all the musicians; and those musicians who come from out of town spend the week living in the homes of supporters.”

It’s the only way the Opera House can affordably present the festival, he adds.

Davis said although the number of people in the area who have been vaccinated is steadily rising, people are not yet comfortable opening up their homes to boarders. Similarly, some of the musicians expressed resistance to this type of housing arrangement.

A recent informal survey of Opera House patrons also identified a reluctance to attend in-theatre events in the near-term. “More than a quarter of survey respondents say they would not return to the theatre until fall, with another third indicating it would be mid- to late summer for them,” Davis said.

“We explored other options such as postponing the festival until later in the summer, using all local musicians, and even presenting a smaller festival. But each presented its own list of additional challenges.”

All of this led Davis and Grant Cooper, festival director and conductor, to conclude that the best course of action would be to cancel this year’s festival. The entire program planned for what would have been the 25th Festival will become the program for 2022, which will be held on June 10-12, 2022.

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