Arts, Dining & Entertainment

An unconventional season for an unprecedented year

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra introduces new concepts to kick off its 2020/2021 season

Music can provide exactly what we need at the precise moment we need it. During these turbulent times, musical performances offer welcome opportunities for connection, reflection, and respite. For the start of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s (VSO) 2020/2021 season, they present two new projects — made possible by Northfield Savings Bank’s VSO Innovation Fund and designed to meet you where you are at, serve the present moment, and provide some brightness for the soul.

This fall will see the return of a popular, established VSO offering, as Jukebox is back for its fifth season. The string quartet will play varied programs of short-format pieces — this time seen and heard from the comfort of your living room.

Hosted by VSO Creative Projects Chair Matt LaRocca, the October Jukebox features a stacked show with works by composers including: Dame Ethel Smyth, Ludwig van Beethoven, J.S. Bach, Dmitri Shostakovich, Carlos Simon, Talking Heads, and Jordyn Davis. These pieces explore current events, from politics to pandemics. A second Jukebox concert will stream live in January, featuring an eclectic mix of styles and composers.

Tune in live, Oct. 17 and Jan. 16, 2021, both at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are required and on sale Oct. 1, pay-what-you-can sliding scale options starting at $5. Each concert will be followed by a virtual after-party with Matt and the musicians.

They look forward to announcing continuously relevant and innovative programming as the season progresses and they adapt to meet ever-changing circumstances. These projects are part of a broader period of invention, change, and upward momentum at the VSO. In addition to staying active and performing throughout the pandemic, we have welcomed a dynamic new executive director, Elise Brunelle, and have a fundraising campaign underway that could make the VSO eligible for a $100,000 grant to collaborate with Vermont’s immigrant communities. As part of its ongoing commitment to promoting music education, the VSO will also be offering online after-school programs in lieu of its usual school visits.

Music for Days Like This

Hosted by VSO new music advisor David Ludwig, “Music for Days Like This” interweaves the traditional with the unexpected, drawing a parallel to present day experiences through chamber ensemble performances. This streamable series, the brainchild of VSO Creative Projects Chair Matt LaRocca, is recorded at unique locations throughout the Champlain Valley, with some venues welcoming the VSO for the very first time. “Music for Days Like This” promotes the voices of those historically left out of the orchestral narrative, featuring new commissioned music from female composers, Black composers, and composers under the age of 20, intertwined with works from more traditionally performed composers.


This performance will feature a string quintet and pianist, with premiere works composed by Alex Wick of South Burlington High School and Arianelle Arroyo, a high school junior from NYC. The program will also include works by Franz Schubert and Ludwig van Beethoven, among others.

The Nov. 21 concert will be streamed at 7:30 p.m. Recorded at the Elley-Long Music Center in Colchester. Tickets are required and on sale Oct. 1, pay-what-you-can sliding scale options starting at $5.


The December performance will feature four cellists and two percussionists, including premieres by Molly Joyce, whose work regards disability as a creative source; and Michael Chorney, a recent Tony winner from Vermont.

Dec. 19 concert will be streamed at 7:30 p.m. Recorded at Willow Gate Farm in Charlotte, in a restored former-tack-shop-turned-barn. Tickets are required and on sale Oct. 1, pay-what-you-can sliding scale options starting at $5.

For more details and tickets, please visit If you are interested in donating, please visit

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