Holiday concerts take on new look for Bemidji Symphony

The orchestra had to get creative in order to put on its annual holiday event in a pandemic.

Pianist Brayden Drevlow will be the guest artist for the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra's "Nutcracker Nuevo" live-streamed concerts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6. Submitted photo.

BEMIDJI -- Holiday music from the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra will take on a new look this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In past years, the full orchestra has performed a weeknight concert at the Bemidji High School Auditorium. That can’t happen this year because of state safety restrictions, so the BSO had to get creative.

Two live-streamed concerts will be available for viewing at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 for those who purchase tickets.

“This year will be a number of firsts for our annual holiday concerts,” said Music Director and Conductor Beverly Everett. “They will be on a weekend instead of a weeknight. And they will be presented by a small portion representing our orchestra.”

Tickets priced at $18 plus fees may be purchased on the BSO’s website, . The ticket allows a household online access to the livestream of both concerts. The links to the livestreams will be emailed to ticket purchasers.


"Nutcracker Nuevo" features Tchaikovsky's “Nutcracker Suite” arranged for solo piano and small ensemble, with special guest pianist Brayden Drevlow. The concerts will include a string quintet from the BSO, Eric Sundeen on drums, and Everett on the organ, and on the podium as conductor.

“COVID has presented challenges to arts organizations all over our country,” Everett said. “I can't tell you how many musicians have reached out to me, wanting to play with their groups, and so grateful when opportunities arise to do so. I can't tell you how many people reach out in appreciation when we provide even the smallest amount of music.”

Everett said the concerts will include everything from the Grinch to Sleigh Ride, Nutcracker to Frosty the Snowman, and O Holy Night.

“I know it's not the same as being there in person, and believe me, we miss our audiences,” she said. “But please consider purchasing a ticket to watch us online. Every dollar supports our organization and helps ensure a bright future for music in our beautiful community.”

Dennis Doeden, former publisher of the Bemidji Pioneer, is a feature reporter. He is a graduate of Metropolitan State University with a degree in Communications Management.
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