In mid-March, when the pandemic shut the doors of all performance venues around the country and around the world, no one knew for sure when live music would return. Classical Movements, led by its founder Neeta Helms, knew that once their home state of Virginia reopened, music would need to return in as safe a way as possible. So they embarked on a brave mission to become the first organization in the United States to present classical music to a socially-distanced audience. Classical Movements has been the premier concert tour company for the world’s great orchestras and choirs, but with their core business of travel and performances closed for the forseeable future, a new plan needed to be made. As the owner of The Rectory and President of Classical Movements, Neeta Helms, knew that the building would be perfect for an outdoor concert series, despite never have been open to the public before.
Classical Movements went on to have three sold-out concerts of chamber music for the first experimental first performance in June. After a successful event, with none of the participating staff, performers, or audience falling ill Classical Movements went on to present an entire summer series. Over the course of the summer, Classical Movements presented 23 concerts for 926 audience members in the Secret Garden at The Rectory, their home in Old Town Alexandria. Over the course of this series of 9 chamber music concerts, 6 recitals of opera and art song, 2 choral concerts and 2 cabaret concerts, Classical Movements engaged 74 performers, of which 31 were women and 21 performers of color, and programmed 94 different works by 88 composers including 33 living composers.
The Rectory on Princess Street is now open for events of all kind. In the darkness, there is light, and this new venture has proven that Classical Movements’ is both resilient and adaptable in these changing times.