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Missoula Symphony in the Park canceled

Missoula Symphony in the Park canceled

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Missoula Symphony Orchestra Caras Park concert (copy)

Missoula Symphony Orchestra Music Director Darko Butorac leads the annual Symphony in the Park in this file image. This year's concert has been canceled due to COVID-19.

Another popular downtown Missoula event has been canceled because of the novel coronavirus.

Symphony in the Park, which brings the orchestra and large crowds to Caras Park each August for a free concert, won’t happen this year, according to an announcement this week.

The Missoula Symphony Association’s board of directors and sponsors “were not comfortable moving forward with the concert, due to COVID-19. Historically, five thousand people attend Symphony in the Park and there are just too many risks to consider. The safety of our musicians and patrons is our first priority,” Executive Director Jo May Salonen wrote in an email.

The Missoula Symphony Orchestra was already forced to cancel the last concert of its 2019-20 season, which had been scheduled for April. It wasn’t a normal concert, either. The nonprofit had invited the last of its candidates for the position of music director to replace Darko Butorac, who ended his tenure in spring 2019. MSO is working on a substitute date to bring that applicant, Zoe Zeniodi, to interview, Salonen said.

“Currently, we are researching many options to find the best way to safely perform a concert,” she said.

Caras is usually a heavily booked venue for large events during the summer, but most organizers have opted to postpone or cancel.

The Out to Lunch and Downtown ToNight series have been replaced by Tuesday through Thursday “pop-ups” with fewer vendors and no live music.

Garden City Brewfest was called off for the year, and the MADE Fair art market is hoping it may be viable by August.

In the release, First Security Bank said it and other sponsors were putting their money toward the nonprofit MSO’s next season.

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