CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — The good vibes, fresh air and legendary traffic at Blossom Music Center are rites of passage for Northeast Ohio concert goers. But the music all stopped last summer due to COVID-19 — the season canceled. So now with a vaccine, and state health measures set to expire, there will soon be sweet sounds coming from the woods in Cuyahoga Falls once again.
“I do think my ears might get a shock.” Cleveland Orchestra violist Lisa Boyko said. “But I’ll just be happy.”
The anticipation is building for Boyko and the rest of her colleagues in the Cleveland Orchestra to return to the stage and play for their adoring fans.
The Orchestra is set to play a series of concerts at Blossom starting July 3 and running through August. It is a return to normal for the musicians and the venue, which has sat silent since the pandemic hit.
“What I love about the concert experience there is, looking out and seeing how much the audience is enjoying themselves in that outdoor setting,” Boyko said.
And so far, the interest from starved live-music-lovers has been steady.
“We don’t want to jinx it, but there are already some performances that are on the verge of selling out,” said Cleveland Orchestra Artistic Administrator Ilya Gidalevich. "It’s clear people really have a desire to get out again and enjoy this kind of art."
That's music to the ears of Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters.
“We’re glad to have them back online,” he said. "Last year was tough and now it’s great we can get out and have fun"
It's also a financial relief after the city lost out on a projected $600,000 in revenue from ticket taxes to Blossom in 2020. But with more concerts announced just this week, the community is excited to welcome in the crowds of fans once again.
"As people come in from all over the country sometimes, they shop at our shops, restaurants and bistros," Walters said. "So, it definitely brings in a lot of dollars to the community."
The return of live music is becoming more of a reality at a time when many could use it.
"My hope is that these 10 weeks at Blossom is going to be a good transition period for everyone to start enjoying that again," Boyko said.
As for COVID protocols at Blossom, the Cleveland Orchestra has been working with local hospitals and health officials to map out best practices. Those are posted on their website and could be adjusted as the Orchestra gets closer to hitting the stage in July.