MUSKEGON —In response to the continuing pandemic, West Michigan Symphony today announced the suspension of all live performances through August.

This includes the upcoming June 12 program featuring Still’s “Afro-American” Symphony and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, as well as concerts previously rescheduled for July 1, July 10 and August 15. WMS is currently planning a series of online performances in order to continue providing music to the community.

Executive Director Andy Buelow made the cancellation announcement today following the recent extension of the shelter-at-home order and in light of Michigan’s new Safe Start Plan, unveiled earlier this month, which outlines a six-point process for reopening the state.

“Last month, we unveiled a revised calendar that moved our four remaining concerts into summer,” Buelow stated. “Since then, the projected trajectory of the pandemic has lengthened. It is clear—as the Safe Start Plan says—that reopening the state may be a longer process than envisioned. We are committed to the safety of our community. Now more than ever, however, people need beautiful music; and so, we are taking this opportunity to innovate—and fulfill our mission in a different way.”

Among upcoming projects, WMS is planning a video concert in June featuring leading members of the string section, who will perform Barber’s Adagio for Strings and music by Mozart. Slated for July and August are video concerts of the previously scheduled Vivaldi Four Seasons with violinist Chee-Yun, and one with trumpeter Byron Stripling. As planned, these programs will be staged from the Frauenthal Center with the musicians arranged for physical distancing. The video concerts will be made available in full to subscribers and ticket holders from the WMS web page, and excerpts will be offered for free general viewing on Facebook. Details are forthcoming.

In the interim, WMS has been working with Blue Lake Public Radio to broadcast excerpts from WMS’s fall concerts during Foley Schuler’s Sunday morning program starting on May 24th and continuing for the following month. Music Director Scott Speck will narrate the broadcasts. A schedule will be announced in the near future.

“While this time has created uncertainty for all of us, with the ongoing support of the community we will continue to provide life-changing music—however we can!” stated Speck. “We look forward to resuming live concerts—and in the meantime, to seeing all our patrons online.”