When our Animato Team supported by the Animato Foundation board started in spring 2021 the preparation of the new form of a “Animato Chamber Orchestra Concert Tour 2021” there was no planning security at all as to the new form of this Concert Tour and even more with respect to the omnipresent European-wide Covid pandemic. From a planning point of view, we could in advance at no moment exclude that Covid-19 and respective infection could cause a cancellation of the scheduled concerts and/or a premature termination of said Chamber Concert Tour. In addition, and with respect to the finding suitable smaller concert halls – in the majority new ones – the respective halls in fall 2021 forced us to plan these concerts relatively late in fall with the termination date of 29th October 2021. Looking back now we were highly lucky to terminate this first Chamber Orchestra Tour just before the infection rate in all visited countries – Austria, Czech Republic and Germany – started to rise dramatically.
Apart from the usual complete and high consuming standard evaluation, negotiation and organizing all elements and parts of an ordinary Animato Concert Tour we were confronted with a high number of challenges how to make – as far as possible – our Animato Chamber Tour “Covid-safe” and to protect the healthiness of all orchestra members as well as music professional and accompanying staff.
To insure such a relative security the basic request in this connection was to demand a fully vaccinated status for the whole orchestra and accompanying staff while as to the concert public the Covid protection scheme has been usually the application of a 2G+ approach. Looking back, we can conclude that our whole Animato Tour 2021 was more than expected fortunate since – apart from a narrow escape from a cancellation of our Melk concert we didn’t have no further severe Covid incidence causing a change in our concert and trip plans. It was therefore with a great gratitude and relaxation that our whole Animato Orchestra and staff returned safely and sane home after our last concert in Berlin.
Looking at Covid-19 and its negative economic effects on our past Animato Orchestra Members
In view of the expensive music studies at a universities and academies it is a fact that music students in their majority are depending financially on a flow of income from a commercial activity parallel to their studies such as giving music lessons to children and alike.
Already in the first Covid wave 2020/2021 it became obvious that this additional source of income for music students disappeared quickly for various reasons so their financial dependency from their parents and/or official grants given to them increased significantly. These financial impacts of the pandemic could easily bring students in their music education in critical financial situations.
To offer to our past Animato Orchestra Members still studying an extraordinary helping hand in such a unexpected situation the Animato Foundation has created the ANIMATO FINANCIAL EMERGENCY SWITCH-OFF PROGRAM.
This program is distinct from a usual grant to students and is aiming to cover unforeseeable expenses outside the ordinary living and studying costs. Illustrative examples of such financial shortage for music students are a necessity to replace their old or broken music instrument or a relatively high fee for a registration to be admitted to a final exam. Beneficiaries of such extraordinary financial support are all ex-Animato Orchestra Members having participated in the Animato Concert Tour 2018, registered for the finally dropped Animato Academy and Concert Tour 2020 and the Animato Chamber Orchestra Tour 2021. Not surprisingly the responses by our ex-Animato Orchestra Members have been highly positive but is also treating another burden of desk and paper work while the basic purpose of Animato Foundation still remains to offer to young music students a practical experience together with their pears on a European concert tour as a member of an Animato youth Orchestra.
Looking at the future world with Covid-19
The lucky “window opportunity” timewise which we enjoyed during our Animato Chamber Orchestra Tour 2021 allowed us to profit from the low level Covid-19 infection rate in the visited countries and made it possible to give five public concerts as planed with relative few restrictions until to just after the termination of our Animato Tour in Berlin by end of October 2021.
The following rocket-like increase of the Covid-19 infection rate in November 2021 prompting already a number of partial lockdowns in the visited countries had already a negative effect on the public classical concert season 2021/22.
In addition, the appearance of a mutated and more dangerous virus (omicron) and the still not sufficient vaccination degree of most European countries let expect that the Covid pandemic will stay with us for a non-foreseeable future still.
We have drawn from our positive experience with our first Animato Chamber Orchestra Tour two tentative conclusions assuming the continuation of a Covid pandemic still active at the time when we would like to start a new Animato Orchestra activity model:
– The model of an Animato Chamber Orchestra Tour has stood its test and provides apart from the experience already gained in a Covid pandemic a lower exposure to negative impact from a still existing pandemic compared to a much larger romantic orchestra of 90+ orchestra members.
– In view of the different degree of infections/vaccination existing in different European countries and regions we might concentrate our geographical range of the tour to one or two countries with which we have already gained know-how, have contacts and partners as well performance experience in their classical concert halls. For the time being these countries would be Austria which will further simplify and in doing so reduce the risk exposure of being hit by Covid infection which might not only lead to a cancellation of a concert but stop the whole ongoing Animato Tour as well.