The Fort Myers Community Concert Association has canceled the five performances of the 2021 season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, board president Mary Lee Mann announced today.
It is the first time in the 72-year history of the Fort Myers Community Concert Association that an entire season has been canceled.
“After much deliberation and soul searching, our board has decided we must cancel our 2021 Season. We took into consideration several important facts: the limited availability of the COVID-19 vaccine locally, the steady increase in our local positivity rates, the projected post holiday surges, the new more contagious COVID variant, and most difficult to overcome, our inability to socially distance membership in the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall,” she said in a statement.
While other events are still ongoing at the Barbara B. Mann Hall, the number of seats is limited due to the six-foot social distancing perimeter. Mann said this configuration makes it impossible to accommodate the 1,700 members of the Fort Myers Community Concert Association.
“The majority of our patrons are in the highly vulnerable age group. We had hoped the situation would improve by now, but it hasn’t. We just don’t feel we can risk the health and safety of our members by bringing them together in such a large group during a pandemic,” Mann said.
All season ticket holders will be offered the option of either a refund or a credit toward next year’s season, which Mann said is being organized now and will be announced in the spring.
The Concert Association revised the season in December to include performers closer to the United States in hopes that travel would be less of a concern for the visiting artists. Performances varying from a fully staged opera to a chamber music ensemble were scheduled to begin in February.
The Fort Myers Community Concert Association is an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization founded by the legendary Barbara B. Mann in 1949 to bring world-class entertainment to Southwest Florida at affordable prices. The association consists of more than 1,700 members, underwriters and sponsors.
Performers brought to Fort Myers in the past by the association include The Israel Ballet, Violinist Itzhak Perlman, The Boston Brass, Minnesota Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Vienna Boys Choir, pianist Andre Watts, violinist Joshua Bell with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and many others.
For membership forms, visit www.fortmyerscommunityconcerts.org.