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Santa Barbara Symphony performs in front of live audience for first time in over a year

Granada Theatre
Blake DeVine/NC3
For the first time in over a year, the Santa Barbara Symphony performed in front of a live audience on Wednesday afternoon in the Granada Theatre.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — For the first time in over a year, the Santa Barbara Symphony performed in front of a live audience Thursday afternoon in the Granada Theatre.

The rehearsal of Beethoven’s 7th took place in front of a small group of guests.

For Santa Barbara Symphony music & artistic director Nir Kabaretti, this was a long-awaited experience. 

“It was absolutely a joy to be on stage,” he said. “To feel that somebody is there.”

Santa Barbara Symphony president & CEO Kathryn Martin said the sight and sound of people enjoying music in-person was special. 

“Hearing people in real life clap and applaud for the musicians on stage, that was a little bit emotional for me,” she said.

With California’s COVID-19 restrictions rolling back, performance venues — such as the Granada Theatre — are allowed to host concerts indoors.

However, masks must be worn and audience members are only allowed inside with a negative coronavirus test or proof of vaccination.

Santa Barbara resident Nancy Golden enjoyed every minute of the performance.

“It was such a treat to be back here for live music,” she said. “We’ve gone all these months without it, when we needed it most. So it’s terrific to be back.”

To allow for safe spacing between musicians, the stage was stretched out and expanded.

This built up an indoor atmosphere with energy and anticipation. 

“It was a very special moment,” Kabaretti said. “I could feel the excitement from the musicians, there was something emotional there.”

“From the way that they were playing today, I could tell that they were lifted up,” Martin said. “They were just as excited to have the audience, as the audience was to hear live music again.”

While times have changed, the magic of music remained for audience member Fred Golden.

“The theater itself is sort of alive,” he said. “Seeing these people actually working their instruments, it was wonderful.”

The Santa Barbara Symphony’s season finale will be live-streamed on Saturday, May 15th at 7 p.m. from inside the Granada Theatre. To purchase tickets, you can click here.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.


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