MARICOPA — The Maricopa Music Circle announced a pause from rehearsals and live performances for the upcoming fall season due to COVID-19.
Judith Zaimont, co-founder and coordinator for the group as well as their accomplished pianist, was sad to make the announcement, but found it prudent due to the nature of their ensemble.
“It’s entirely due to reasons of good health and to be able to maintain distance, and not (allow) exposure to aerosols that might be compromised coming out of a brass instruments bell, for instance,” Zaimont said.
During preparation for live events, the group of between 10 and 16 members meet at private homes several times a week to practice all different genres of music from jazz and ragtime to symphonic suite and seasonal. Zaimont said it would be impossible to maintain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines during these packed practice sessions.
They aren’t the only one to make this announcement in recent weeks, Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic and Broadway all made similar announcements to go dark until January 2021, hoping conditions will improve.
COVID has also affected Zaimont personally, as a skilled composer she had her own performances shut down this year.
“I had performances this spring scheduled by the London Symphony Orchestra, by string quartets in Massachusetts and Connecticut, New York and Miami and a chamber ensemble in Wisconsin, plus several symphonic wind ensembles — none of those things took place,” Zaimont said matter-of-factly.
The London Symphony Orchestra is actually going ahead with their performance of one of Zaimont’s other pieces on August 14 at the Barbican Centre without her presence. They will be socially distanced with no more than 50 people in the audience, and masks will be required.
“People are taking this very, very seriously,” Zaimont said. “This virus is real and the dangers that it poses are very real. Caution should be the watchword.”
She said it wasn’t an easy decision to come to as an orchestra, as all the members hold music near and dear to their hearts.
“This orchestra is composed of people who are passionate about their instrument and about playing music for everyone to enjoy,” Zaimont said. “It includes people who are former music professionals, a firefighter, a teacher in one of the city school programs. So these are people for whom music is a lifelong love, and they would never be separated from it for long, which is why everybody’s chomping to get back to it, but right now we are being prudent.”
In the meantime, Maricopa Music Circle plans to stay active on their Facebook and YouTube pages, where community members can enjoy highlights of past performances and maybe even an upcoming full-length concert video with a mix of different styles.