Ross Goldberg

New West Symphony Responds to Coronavirus;
Positioning to Bring the Healing Power of Music to the Community


(THOUSAND OAKS, CA – March 31, 2020) — Throughout history, music has played a critical role in pulling people together and in accelerating the healing process in times of need. Now, as the effect of the coronavirus impacts all local families and businesses, the New West Symphony is looking forward to the day when it can play that vital role again. 

“The power of live music isn’t just the concerts or events, it is the connection to other people, which is the glue that holds communities together,” says Kim Woods, chair of the board of the New West Symphony. When this pandemic passes I believe people will feel a real eagerness to get back to that and our responsibility and pledge to the community is that the New West Symphony will be there to provide that connectivity and lifting of the human spirit through the joy of music.”

Already, the New West Symphony is staying true to this mission through blog postings that feature links to uplifting music that people can enjoy to help get them through these difficult times. The blog can be accessed through the symphony’s website at  In addition, Music Director Michael Christie is working with staff and musicians to create original online content that will soon be available on social media and on the website.

Like all performing arts organizations around the country, the New West Symphony has been hit hard – both programmatically and financially – by the coronavirus.

Among the events that were postponed was the much-anticipated Violins of Hope concerts scheduled for April. The New West Symphony was the only Ventura County orchestra scheduled to perform on these rare string instruments which have been lovingly restored and carry their own stories from the Holocaust – many that were played in concentration camps. The symphony plans on holding these concerts sometime during its 2020/2021 season when the instruments again become available.

Also postponed where two of the symphony’s annual signature events – the Laby Harmony Luncheon and the Symphonic Adventures concerts. These two programs speak directly to the symphony’s mission and our love of community by exposing literally thousands of local students to the joy and wonderment of music. 

To compound matters, the coronavirus hit right in the middle of subscription sales for next season, which begins in the fall. As a result, Woods said that the symphony is asking current subscribers to renew now rather than wait as the immediate influx of dollars “will help us to plan the next steps for the symphony.” She says that an overwhelming majority of subscribers – some of whom have been with the symphony for its entire 25 year history – have been extremely accommodating. 

“We are also presently involved in an outreach to donors asking for them to do what they can in this time of need,” says Woods. “Not everyone is in a position to do so and we are extremely sensitive to the life-and-death realities of the situation, but we are asking those who are in a position to help to do so. We are also looking at what support we might be able to get through SBA loans or other components of the stimulus package. It’s a cliché, but everything is being explored. These are clearly unusual times.”

Woods said that, like the rest of us, she is looking forward to the day of renewed togetherness. “Classical music has been around for hundreds of years. People need it like the air they breathe. It is part of the human spirit and has always been part of the healing process.  We are planning now for the symphony to emerge from this crisis fully prepared to provide the community with the world class music and social responsibility they have come to expect from us.

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