The Performing Arts and Concert Series is rescheduling or postponing all remaining spring semester events, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes after the university announced it was cancelling in-person classes for the rest of the semester.
The Performing Arts and Concert Series has been a staple of Ohio University’s arts and music culture. Every year, Ohio University staff members work together to create a lineup of engaging entertainment for students and Southeastern Ohio residents.
Andrew Holzaepfel, senior associate director of student activities, knows everyone in the entertainment industry is being impacted by the pandemic, from professional agents and performers to specific venues and universities.
“I think everyone in the entertainment world was kind of watching and waiting to figure out what kind of effect this was going to have on us,” Holzaepfel said. “I don't think anyone predicted quite how quickly it would unfold.”
Logistically, Holzaepfel expressed how lucky the series is given the circumstances, because there were only about eight more events left between the regular series, special add-ons and co-sponsored events. These events included concerts from Bob Mould, Finneas and Mountain Stage, and musicals like Broadway’s Next Hit Musical and STOMP.
However, Holzaepfel made it his mission not to cancel anything from the spring semester, but rather reschedule everything. This was his way of making sure audience members all got the chance to see the shows they had been so excited about.
Holzaepfel has spent the majority of his time contacting agents and figuring out pockets of time in the 2020-2021 Performing Arts and Concert Series to place the rescheduled shows. He knows next year’s season will most likely be jam packed, but it’s been his number one opportunity to keep everything as smoothly running as possible.
Most of the performances are still in the process of being rescheduled, but two that have been officially announced are Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, Sept. 18, and STOMP, Feb. 3, 2021.
Because of the decision to reschedule rather than cancel, the Performing Arts and Concert Series hasn’t taken a major hit financially. Its only loss stems from the marketing and promotion department with minimal amounts of television advertising for shows like STOMP.
Holzaepfel’s main focus doesn’t revolve around the program’s finances or the difficulty of rescheduling, but the way the hard work will benefit the audience.
The educational outreach is what’s most important to Char Kopchick, assistant dean of students for campus involvement. She is not only involved with the series professionally, but is also a ticket holder who knows how important it is to reschedule the events.
“It’s beneficial for our students to interact with these professionals,” Kopchick said. “And the experiences for the K through 12 students… I’m so grateful we had two K through 12 outreach programs before the pandemic happened. Our mission is to provide worldwide performances, right here in Athens, Ohio, and for a lot of people in the community it wouldn’t happen if it was not through the Performing Arts and Concert Series.”
Students who love the series also appreciate the rescheduling of events.
Lexi Fox, a freshman studying exercise physiology, has been to shows put on by the series before and thinks it’s important that it’s rescheduling.
“I think it’s important that they’re rescheduling, just because the virus is spreading so quickly, but also because it gives students the opportunity to see shows they may not be able to see otherwise,” Fox said.
Holzaepfel knows this is a difficult time and people are focused on many more issues than the strain on the entertainment industry, but he is hopeful for the positive impact the Performing Arts and Concert Series shows will have on OU and Southeast Ohio when all of this is over.
“I think the pandemic is going to leave a lot of people feeling empty, so hopefully we’ll be there to kind of fill them up with entertainment,” Holzaepfel said.