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  • Elaine Rinaldi

A New Year's Eve to Remember!

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

For today’s Flashback Friday, we’re going back to 2021- not that long ago, but it feels like a millennium has passed since New Year’s Eve 2021! Think back to that dark time, when we had to cancel all of our concerts, stay indoors, isolate ourselves, and ration toilet paper…. When we got to early 2021 it felt like we had finally emerged from a long, dark fever dream. We could socialize again! We could go to the grocery store, go back to school and yes, go to concerts again! We played it safe and planned the majority of our 2021-22 season in outdoor venues- what could go wrong??

In December of 2020, Orchestra Miami had originally planned to cap off our “Beethoven for Miami” festival with a free, beachfront concert performance of Beethoven’ 9th Symphony to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday. But, as we all know, the universe had other plans for us. We did present our “Beethoven for Miami” festival in Oct- December 2020, but instead of presenting grand concerts and events, we pivoted and presented small virtual concerts and events, and eventually live concerts (to a greatly reduced and socially distanced audience) which were livestreamed.

Then in 2021, it looked like we were going to be fine! Concert Halls were open! Schools were open! We were OK! So, with the blessing of the City of Miami Beach, we planned to present Beethoven’s most magnificent masterpiece on New Year’s Eve to celebrate that we were back, we were alive, and we had gotten through the darkest of times together!! I invited a stellar lineup of guest artists, my dear friends Elaine Alvarez, soprano, Marianne Cornetti, mezzo-soprano, Russell Thomas, tenor and Kevin Short, bass-baritone, and had lined up a fabulous volunteer choir to sing Richard Blanco’s newly commissioned translation of “Ode to Joy”- I couldn’t wait!

Photos of Elaine Alvarez, Russell Thomas, Kevin Short & Marianne Cornetti
Top Left: Elaine Alvarez; Top Right: Russell Thomas; Bottom Left: Kevin Short; Bottom Right: Marianne Cornetti

But again, the universe decided that things couldn’t be that easy. The Omicron variation decided to ring in the holidays along with us. And with Omicron brought a renewed fear of singing and being around others, so sadly, we lost the majority of our choir. But how do you perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony without a choir? Well, the short answer is, you don’t! So, I scrambled, and with the help of the amazing Giselle Rios and Jared Peroune we hired pretty much every available professional chorister who was willing to sing in Miami! But would people show up? Having never done this before, we could only cross our fingers and hope for the best.

Orchestra Miami perforing on New Year's Eve 2021

Much to our delight, not only did people show up, but they showed up in droves! We had over 4,000 people listening to our performance on that beautiful, balmy evening, and it was magic! The City of Miami Beach provided the fireworks display- right behind the stage- it was the most exciting thing ever!! We knew then and there that we wanted this to be an annual event.

Miami Beach fireworks and Orchestra Miami

It took two years to regroup and recover, and I am proud to say that we will be back on beautiful Miami Beach on New Year’s Eve, performing a celebratory concert followed by fireworks on gorgeous Collins Park Beach! I can’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year! Rather than performing Beethoven, I decided that this year we needed to present a full-on “pops”-style concert, Miami-style. So I invited some friends of mine to come share the stage with us. The Latin Divos are truly a product of Miami- three Cuban amigos who are multi-talented and super-fun! They have performed all over the world in three-part harmony, and I’m thrilled that they will be spending their New Year’s Eve with us.

The Latin Divos

Where else can you sit on a beach and listen to some of the best music in the world- for free? Of course, if you want the VIP treatment, you can buy a VIP ticket for $120, which includes a reserved seat, access to cash bar and a champagne toast at midnight. Whichever you choose, I hope that you’ll join me on New Year’s Eve to celebrate life, love and music in 2024 and beyond!

Enjoy this compilation reel from our 2021 New Year's Eve Celebration!


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