LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Concerts and live performances are making their return, and The Lexington Opera House hosted its first live, ticketed event in over a year on May 15. The Lexington Singers, a large community choir of around 150 central Kentuckians, took the stage. It was important for both the performers and the venue as they rebound.
The Lexington Singers have performed around the world, from South Africa, to Europe, to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Carnegie Hall in New York City. But after over a year of virtual concerts, nothing compares to the excitement of performing to an audience at home, at The Lexington Opera House.
"To say we're excited to do a live performance is an understatement," says Dr. Jefferson Johnson, the Lexington Singers music director. "I mean, we're ecstatic to be back doing what we're designed to do and what we love to do, which is perform for people."
On Saturday, May 15, Dr. Johnson and the Lexington Singers put on their annual pops concert, a performance of a lot of Broadway music and some pop music.
"'A Brand New Day' is our theme and the title of our concert. It's songs about celebration, and rebirth, and joy, and renewal," says Dr. Johnson.
Equally as excited for the return of this in-person concert is Lexington Opera House Director Luanne Franklin.
"The Opera House has served the community for over 100 years. It has endured two World Wars, the Great Depression, and now a pandemic," says Franklin. "And so, it's important for us to open our doors again and let people enjoy what is here, and that is live entertainment."
It's a big step for everyone involved, but still, precautions are being taken. Since The Lexington Singers is a large choir of around 150 people, they had to get creative.
"We had to split our group up into smaller ensembles, and we can have 30 people at a time on stage," said Dr. Johnson.
And in the audience, capacity will still be somewhat limited.
"Unfortunately, we don't reach 60% capacity with our six-foot distancing," says Franklin. "It's really about 350 maximum seats in the venue that typically seats almost a thousand."
The Opera House is also welcoming back The Lexington Ballet and will have a full season of Broadway Live in the fall.
It's been a tough year for the arts--the performers and the venues. The Lexington Singers has been around for over 60 years, and they hope to once again tour internationally and perform abroad.
"The group loves to travel, and we love to be ambassadors for Central Kentucky," says Dr. Johnson.
But taking the stage here--home in Lexington--has never been better.