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St. Louis Symphony Musicians Are Serenading Neighborhoods With Yard Concerts

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St. Louis Public Radio
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Lara Hamdan
St. Louis Symphony musicians perform a free concert hosted at private residences around St. Louis several times a week.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra made the decision to postpone its concerts in March to limit the spread of the coronavirus. It had planned to resume concerts in August, but a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases shuttered that possibility yet again.

However, that hasn’t stopped the musicians from continuing to serenade community members. Thomas Jöstlein, associate principal horn, started organizing miniconcerts in his front yard in March.

Since then, he’s performed more than 100 concerts solo, with family members and other SLSO musicians. These aren’t anything like a regular Powell Hall performance — there aren’t any fancy clothes, balcony seats or rehearsals involved. Just musical connection.

“The connection we have to this audience is so powerful; seeing the smiles [and] just hearing the thunderous applause afterwards has been so joyful,” Jöstlein said.

These miniconcerts have attracted hundreds of residents by word of mouth, and the yard concerts take place in different neighborhoods several times a week.

Each night offers something musically different, too, such as jazz, Irish or Scottish music. Some include appearances by St. Louis Symphony Chorus members, storytellings and more.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Jöstlein talked about the organic effort and how it’s evolved.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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