A virtual run preserves icon of Kennett’s culture

"We've been here for 80 years and want to be here for another 80 years," said the Kennett Symphony's race director Cathy Williams as she explained this year's Beat Beethoven Virtual 5K. Like the previous seven years, the goal is for participants to finish the 3.1-mile run before the final notes of the symphony play, in about 34 minutes.

"This year's run is virtual. We needed to avoid having people congregate," said Williams. "Run on treadmills, go to a park and run. Families can run together." The event also includes a one-mile walk and a 50-yard dash for the kids. Usually the event is held on the first weekend in June at Anson B. Nixon Park in Kennett Square. The event was pushed to October, but this past August the decision was made to go virtual.

Like the run, the symphony itself its going through a virtual period.

"It's tough for everyone, and certainly it's tough for the orchestra," said Michael Hall, music director of the Kennett Symphony. While many musicians are performing from home and entertaining us online, there are few paying jobs. "Many have tried to supplement their lost income with teaching, but others have had to take on non-musical jobs."

The Kennett Symphony marks its 80th anniversary this October and will shortly release its plans for performance for the season. All dates are dependent on being able to gather safely in public, with the health of the audience and the orchestra members a top priority. When pressed, Hall acknowledges that the season may need to be adjusted until the right protocols are in place so that people feel safe.

In the musicians from home series, musicians from the orchestra share their talents.

"Plans are useless, but planning is essential," said Hall quoting President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Until live performances are practical, the Kennett Symphony is keeping touch with the community by offering virtual musical experiences on Facebook. Thursday, Oct. 8 will feature a Groove Talk with Hall, a live Q&A about percussion in the orchestra and musical careers. Like the musicians from home series, this informal talk is all about keeping the connection between the community and the orchestra alive until a live connection is a safe option.

"We're hoping to play together for an audience in March," said Hall. In the meantime, fans of the symphony, fans of Beethoven, and fans of running can support the symphony by joining their virtual run at https://kennettsymphony.org/.

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About Karen Myers

Karen Myers lives in Pocopson Township and has written for several local publications. A strong supporter of our community, Karen has served on several non-profit boards, such as Pocopson Elementary PTO, The United Way of Southern Chester County, Chester County Art Association and Tick Tock Early Learning Center. She received her M.B.A. from the University of Delaware and worked in marketing and operations with a focus on banking.

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