For over 500 days, the NJ Symphony Orchestra had remained in lockdown, unable to play music or host live events. In their pre-pandemic years, the NJSO performed at 6 different venues with the full orchestra present. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the NJSO has had to reduce their workforce because of lack of revenue. They were close to eliminating their deficit, but after canceling more than 40 concerts, the orchestra’s finances were overwhelmed. This past June, they have slowly started to take small steps forward to returning to a state of normalcy. In their first concert in over a year, the NJSO hosted an outdoor garden show, with 77 socially distanced audience members. The small concert featured 8 players in the orchestra.
The NJSO is but one example of the effects of Covid-19 on centers of arts and culture and the people who enjoy them. Nationwide, almost 130 million people have been prevented from attending their favorite activities that they rely on for entertainment and comfort. Arts and culture institutions were contributing almost 900 billion dollars to the GDP of the US, (around 4.5%) and employed more than 5 million workers, but those numbers have been slashed by the pandemic.
Orchestras rely on social intimacy and the togetherness of concerts, both of which have been inaccessible in the past year. Hopefully for the NJSO and it’s counterparts, the only way to go will be up.
Writer and Editor
Graphic: Tarun Kalyanaraman