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Symphony, Smiles and Success

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

By Sophia Castro Astor

Photo by Sophia Castro Astor

Bright flutes and intense violins kicked off Purchase’s Symphony Orchestra’s first live performance since the pandemic. The Oct. 8 show was fairly normal, the biggest difference being that students were barely able to rehearse together.

Despite this, performers were just as excited to be back in their element. Adeline DeBella, who is in the second year of her master’s in flute performance, loved being in front of a crowd again.

“It’s not the same playing for a camera; it feels cold,” she said. “It fuels the performance to be in front of a live audience. Seeing everyone’s smiles above their masks really helps.”

DaBella was happy to be performing live again, but said the new rehearsal process was a bit of an adjustment. The entire symphony was only able to practice twice together before the show, she explained. They were broken up into small groups for rehearsals, and not hearing the full piece until the end of the concert cycle was difficult for her.

DaBella’s friends, who came to support her, were some of the only students in the audience. Locals were not allowed to attend, only invited guests and Purchase students, making for an audience that was mostly parents.

Dawn and Joe Tyrrell, parents of a sophomore orchestra member, were there to watch their son perform at Purchase for the first time. Although they appreciated the college’s virtual shows last year, even though their son did not participate in any, they were excited to finally see some live music.

“It’s such an upgrade from high school,” said Ms. Tyrrell, who said she was very impressed by the professionalism of the musicians.

Many more tried to attend but had to watch the show’s live stream outside the music building’s recital hall due to 80 person capacity because of COVID-19.

Despite a few dozen guests being turned away at the door, Mia Kim, the director of Purchase’s Symphony Orchestra, said she felt the show was a success. She was thrilled to be back for the first time since Feb. 28, 2020.

“We spent our everything to get here,” she said. “The students deserved it.”



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