Toledo Alliance of the Performing Arts Doesn’t Miss a Beat

by Mary Helen Darah

Director of Marketing and Communications for the Toledo Alliance of the Performing Arts (TAPA), Vanessa Gardner, believes the arts have provided people an escape from the “COVID craziness.”
“The arts provide us with a way to heal; particularly music, which can alter your mood,” she stated. “TAPA felt it was important to be there for our community. We continue to provide live art during the global pandemic through an innovative streaming platform that has reached far beyond our expectations.”

Gardner is relatively new to the TAPA organization. “I joined the organization in October,” she recalled. “Prior to my arrival, the board, administration, and musicians collectively decided that we weren’t going on hiatus. We were determined to stay engaged in our community. came out of that resolve. We decided that whether we would be able to have live audiences or not, we would continue to have live performances. Days before our season started, the State of Ohio set a restart plan for entertainment venues which allowed for 15 percent capacity. We were hoping for 30 percent, but 15 percent is still better than zero.” 
TAPA opened their season with a minimal live audience and streamed the performances. “We had to be creative in how to put our orchestra on stage while keeping our performers safe,” said Gardner. “We used minimal wind performers and were conscious about how long the wind instrument musicians could stay on stage unmasked. Keeping everyone healthy and safe was and still is at the forefront.” 
TAPA had already announced their whole season prior to being shut down. Everything that was previously planned for this year had to be reworked. “We changed our programming to accommodate a socially distanced orchestra,” said Gardner. “Our conductor and music director, Alain Trudel, has not been here since last March since he resides in Canada. It has been difficult for him and for our orchestra. We have had guest conductors that we had to obtain with just a few week’s notice. We are so appreciative of our audience for staying with us in spite of the number of changes in our programming and we are looking forward to welcoming Alain Trudel back to Toledo very soon!”
When cases started to escalate last year, Nov. 20 through Feb. 27, performances became all virtual. However, Gardner said, “We are currently welcoming live audiences to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and from here on out, we are anticipating having live audiences. During these unprecedented times, we have offered ticket holders the option to come in person as they are able, or to live stream. We have had viewers from 45 states and 26 countries and have had close to 3,000 registered users.”
Gardner added, “One of our proudest achievements this year was being able to perform Toledo Ballet’s 80th annual Nutcracker during a global pandemic. The Toledo Ballet’s Nutcracker is the longest running annual production in the USA.”
Gardner is excited for the year ahead. She stated, “The bottom line is we have stayed the course thanks to the support of our audience, donors, board and community. We are stronger than ever before and are looking forward to the 2021-22 season.”
For upcoming concert information visit or call the box office at 419-246-8000. Livestream and On-Demand concerts can be found at TAPA Streaming was made possible by the support of the Rita Barbour Kern Foundation and the Greater Toledo Community Foundation.

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