COVID-19 Updates



Tyler, TX (June 24, 2020) — The East Texas Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors voted yesterday to reschedule its September and November subscription concerts to the spring of 2021. This rescheduling allows the entire five-concert subscription season for the coming year to remain virtually as originally designed. This announcement comes at a time of tremendous uncertainty due to the deep and widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“First and foremost, we are dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of our patrons, musicians, staff, and volunteers. That means doing everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said ETSO Executive Director Vanessa Gardner.

Effective June 3, 2020, the state’s reopening guidelines indicated that performing arts venues could open at 50% capacity with “six feet of distance between groups” and with increased health and safety guidelines for both staff and patrons. Initial models indicate that social distancing measures at the UT Tyler Cowan Center would further reduce the capacity to only 32%. “Historically, ETSO subscribers alone exceed this capacity,” continued Gardner. “With these requirements in place, we would have to greatly reduce the number of tickets available, resulting in a significant loss of income to ETSO but also a loss to members of the community who would be turned away.”

ETSO Board Chair Laura Hyde added, “We hope that rescheduling the start of our season to January 2021 will allow patrons to keep their existing seats and that we will have more information to ensure that the concert experience is safe and enjoyable for as many people who wish to attend as possible.”

Repositioning the entire 20/21 season to the spring months also keeps the programmatic offerings intact, something which ETSO Music Director Richard Lee views as important for both ETSO audiences and musicians. “I am so proud of the diverse and exciting programming this season, which features so many local artists and musicians,” said Lee. “It was important that we make every effort to present each of our concerts safely and successfully.”

Instead of kicking off the season in September, Rock the Classics II will move to May 22, 2021 to close the 20/21 season. The November concert, featuring cellist Colin Carr and a nod to Beethoven’s 250thbirthday will be moved to February 20, 2021. Gardner adds, “We are fortunate and appreciative of the leadership at the UT Tyler Cowan Center for working with us to make these alternative dates possible.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a very real impact on our musicians, many of whom have lost a significant amount of work and income,” said Gardner. “The staff and board of ETSO are working to create programming that can engage ETSO musicians and deliver performances and music education content virtually in the coming months. Increased financial support from our loyal patrons and community members will be crucial in making our entire 20/21 season possible.”

Efforts to recognize the longstanding support of the East Texas business community is ongoing. An email and social media campaign with the hashtag #ETSOSupportsLocal encourages the community to support local businesses who have advertised in the ETSO printed concert program book. Likewise, the board, staff, and musicians of ETSO thank donors and underwriters for their continued support during this uncertain time.

With the 20/21 season ticket renewal process well underway, ETSO will be reaching out to all subscribers to confirm the dates of all five concerts. Seats will be automatically reserved for the rescheduled performances. Non-renewed subscribers from the 19/20 season may still renew their tickets but, new subscription sales will be temporarily suspended to allow the box office time to make these adjustments.

Inquiries regarding subscriptions and ticket sales should be directed to ETSO Director of Patron Services Kathy Housby at 903-526-3876 ext. 4# or via email to

All other inquiries should be directed to ETSO Executive Director Vanessa Gardner at 903-526-3876 ext. 3# or via email to

View the Updated Season Schedule

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