Altoona Symphony Concerts and Learning Pod Update

By September 17, 2020 Around the Area, Arts, Education, Music

Altoona Symphony Orchestra Gets Creative!

Congratulations to the Altoona Symphony Orchestra on finding some creative ways to bring their beautiful music to their audiences in this time of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic! They presented three FREE Outdoor Cushion Concerts over the past month. These consisted of four or five local community members of the symphony presenting mini-concerts designed for young and older attendees alike. The first, themed All Natures Things was held at the Canoe Creek State Park Amphitheater on Friday, August 14 at 11am; the second was Salute to American Music at Canal Basin Park on Saturday, August 29 at 6:30pm; and the last one, Meet Me at the Movies was this past Saturday at 1pm on the small stage at Lakemont Park. As you can see there was a great variety of music, times and beautiful Blair County settings!

Coming up this fall are three Musician Spotlight Concerts at the Mishler Theatre. Again, due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings to limit exposure to the virus, the symphony leadership has worked with the Blair County Arts Foundation (owners of the Mishler Theatre) to establish a schedule and plan for live concerts. These “small” performances, each featuring two, three or five musicians with a maximum attendance of 250 audience members, with general admission seating, at the Mishler to assure spatial distancing between attendees not in the same group. Masks are required when entering, moving around and exiting the theatre. The mask may be removed ONLY when seated once the concert begins. Other restrictions at the Mishler will be in place for the health and safety of all present.

First up, on October 4, is Concert Master Genaro Medina (violin) accompanied by Hugh Sung on piano presenting classical music treasures of Mozart, Gluck, Strauss and more. Next, on November 1, is the Alabaster Trio presenting Revelations featuring works from Schumann, Vivaldi, Rachmaninov, Piazzolla and more. Members of the trio are Lenny Young, ASO principal oboe, Raquel Winnica Young, mezzo-soprano and Jack Kurutz on piano. Last, but certainly not least, on December 6, (which just happens to be my birthday!) is the Holiday Brass Concert with ASO’s Brass Quintet bringing warmth and cheer for the holiday season. All of the concerts in this series will be held on Sunday afternoons at 2:30pm.

Tickets are now on sale by calling the Mishler Theatre box office at 814 944 9434 on M, W, and F from 10am to 3pm. For in person sales the box office is open ONLY on Fridays during those hours, a mask is required and they will NOT accept cash at the window. There will be NO day of event ticket sales. Adult tickets are $20, students are $15 and these prices include the $3 box office fee.

The really EXCITING NEWS is that these concerts will also be available by Virtual Streaming! The charge is only $10 per person, including box office fees, and these tickets are available through the Mishler Theatre website They will be texted to your phone. You will be able to watch the concert by live stream as it happens or for a certain period of time afterward. This is a great new opportunity that the symphony is able to offer their audience in conjunction with the Mishler Theatre. Very timely innovation!

ArtsAltoona Learning Pods

We are very pleased with the feedback that we have received so far from the parents and students using our Learning Pods. The student enrollment continues to grow, but we still have plenty of room for more students. Thanks to Domenic Cuzzolina for the very nice article he wrote for the Altoona Mirror that was published on Monday of this week. If you or anyone you know has 6th, 7th or 8th graders that could benefit from a setting with other students, a monitor to keep them on track, and arts oriented enrichment activities during down times, please email us at We are very pleased to be able to offer this service to families during these difficult pandemic times!

Thanks for checking in,
Donna Gority
ArtsAltoona Board President