Boulder Symphony Reunites, Without Winds

The group is preparing for its first performance in months, but is cutting back on instruments and taking other steps to stay safe from COVID-19. KUSA's Noel Brennan reports.

BOULDER, Colo. (KUSA/NBC News) — Masked musicians sat six feet apart and began tuning their violins and cellos, as Colorado’s Boulder Symphony prepared Monday for their first performance in months.

Their efforts drowned out the sound of the only wind instruments in the room: two whirring air purifiers.

“Everybody who plays in the orchestra actually is able to wear a mask because we’ve essentially excluded all wind, brass, aerosol-producing instruments,” said conductor Devin Patrick Hughes.

About 20 members of the orchestra filled a large room inside the Grace Commons Church in Boulder to play together for the first time in months.

“This is our first rehearsal tonight,” Hughes said. “We have great air filters and we’re just kind of doing everything we can just to keep everybody safe and make everybody feel comfortable.”

Rehearsing felt new for the professional musicians in the room like Hillary Schefter.

“I don’t think I’ve seen my conductor in like a year!” Schefter said. “I’ve seen him on Zoom, but that’s definitely different.”

Schefter, the principal harpist for the Boulder Symphony, spent much of the pandemic plucking strings for an audience of none.

“It’s been kind of devastating on the psyche more than anything I’d say,” Schefter said.

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