News on orchestras affected by Hurricane Harvey
September 15, 2017
Like yours, our hearts and thoughts are with everyone in Texas and Louisiana who is affected by Hurricane Harvey. After contacting all member orchestras in Texas that we knew to be affected by the hurricane, the League has heard back from some; see the updates below.
The recovery process will be long; the League will continue to make or keep contact with members in Texas and Louisiana, providing resources and assistance, and we will continue to keep you updated and to let you know how you can help.
- On August 28, Emma Jean Tanner, of the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra wrote, “Currently, I'm dry, but the situation is going to be desperate for many when the waters come our way from the north.”
- On August 28, Anthony Corroa of The Austin Symphony wrote, “We are actually very good here in Austin. I did have to cancel one outdoor concert scheduled for this past Sunday since there was a lot of rain and some minor flooding but nothing catastrophic.”
- On August 31, Mary Koeninger, of the Brazos Valley Symphony, wrote, "We received a lot of rain and wind, but we came through without any damage."
- On September 1, Douglas Fair, of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, in Beaumont, reported that the orchestra “has not had any site damage, yet members of the orchestra have experienced personal loss and may experience difficulty in getting to rehearsal during the week of September 11-16. Several roads have been closed due to severe flooding; some members have lost either cars or homes. Our hall reports no damage, and we remain hopeful that conditions will improve between now and our Sept. 16 concert."
- On September 1, Michelle Hall of the Victoria Symphony wrote, “We determined today that we will have to postpone our opening night concert on September 16. The Fine Arts Center where we perform had/has flooding in the lobby and standing water on the stage and back stage area from roof damage. Earlier Michelle said that their office did not suffer any damage and that “Our city’s infrastructure took a hit but we’re a resilient bunch and everyone seems to be helping where they can and tapping into patience they didn’t know they possessed."
- On September 7, the Houston Youth Symphony announced a fund to help their young musicians as well as other school orchestra programs.
- On September 8, Brian Ritter of Mercury wrote that “Thankfully all of our musicians, staff and Board are safe after Harvey, though several remain displaced by the storm and are in the process of replacing cars and restoring or rebuilding homes. Certainly the storm has caused major disruption and distraction and we are concerned how that may significantly impact ticket sales, subscriptions, and donations for the season. Our offices were not impacted by the storm, but the Wortham Center, our main performance venue, was hit hard with flooding and requiring us to find a new venue for our opening night concert on Oct 7, and perhaps other concerts during the first part of the season…Fortunately, we have been able to reschedule our annual free community concert at Miller Outdoor Theater here in Houston from Labor Day weekend, just after the storm hit, to September 17. This concert typically attracts 6,000-8,000 people; we have reprogrammed the concert to celebrate Houston’s strength and resilience after the storm, and we’ll use it to encourage donations at the concert to support the Storm Relief Fund established by our Mayor. “
- On September 9, the Houston Symphony issued this update, along with info on how to help. (Click here to download an earlier update.)
- On September 15, ROCO, the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra based in Houston, will premiere two fanfares commissioned in response to Hurricane Harvey. Anthony DiLorenzo’s Anthem of Hope: Houston Strong will be premiered on September 22 at Miller Outdoor Theatre and repeated on September 23 at the Church of St. John the Divine. DiLorenzo’s piece will also feature music, dance, and theater ensembles from the Houston area, including Stages Repertory Theatre, Rice University’s Shephard School of Music, Opera in the Heights, Mercury, Musiqa, Houston Youth Symphony, Wind Sync, Queensbury Theatre, MetDance, and Silambam Houston. Kevin Puts’s The Big Heart will be premiered on November 11; it explores Houston’s response to Harvey in the context of the city’s sheltering of the victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and includes text by librettist Mark Campbell. ROCO founder, artistic director, and principal oboist Alecia Lawyer said of the premieres: “I wanted to find a way to reach across Houston’s vibrant arts community and collectively embrace our wonderful city.” ROCO managing director Amy Gibbs added, “Our hope is for these pieces to illustrate how Houston is strengthened by our diversity and ability to build relationships to support one another.”