Chamberfest returns for in-person crowds

The sound of classical music can be heard echoing inside the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre in Ottawa.

Musicians taking the stage in front of a live audience is a sight not seen in months, but it is a sign that life is getting back to normal. Music lovers are thrilled to attend the performances in person.

For cellist Andrea Stewart, it’s one step closer to a sense of normalcy.

“They’ve taken every measure to keep everyone as safe as can be which we really appreciate because it allows us to get back to work,” said Stewart, one of many musicians performing in this year’s Chamberfest.

The venue can hold up to 850 people but under COVID-19 rules, the maximum capacity is 120 along with additional protocols. Safety precautions have also ramped up in other venues.

In museums throughout the city and at the new Van Gogh exhibit, physical distancing markers are in place. Timed ticketing and reduced capacity have allowed organizers to open its doors while keeping staff and visitors safe.

 But Jantine Van Kregten with Ottawa Tourism says a full recovery could be months or even years away.

 “A full recovery will come when we see the return of meetings, conventions and large sporting events,” she said. “Especially large conventions. Those aren’t booked for this fall, they’re for 2024/2025.”

While it could take awhile to get back to normal, for now the rush of performing for a live audience during the festival has filled Stewart’s soul.

“To have the energy come at you from the audience is something we really missed,” she said.


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