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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

city bloomington

Bloomington Symphony Orchestra performs eclipse-inspired concert at Switchyard Park

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Switchyard Park’s weekend solar eclipse festivities continued Sunday with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra’s “There Goes the Sun” concert, featuring the Bloomington Voces Novae chamber choir.  

The main stage grounds were filled with a crowd of Bloomington locals and eclipse visitors filling their weekend with the town’s events. The all-volunteer orchestra presented the crowd with a space-themed set list, including the “Star Wars” “Imperial March,” The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” and “Stardust” originally composed by IU’s own Hoagy Carmichael; each song referencing Monday’s astronomical event officials estimate will bring nearly 300,000 visitors total to Bloomington.  

The crowd swayed side-to-side as the orchestra wrapped up the performance with Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit, “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” a nod to the eclipse. They didn’t leave without an encore, however, as they performed one more Beatles classic with “Can’t Buy Me Love.” 

BSO Executive Director Donna Lafferty said the Parks and Recreation Department counted 1,300 attendees at the concert. Ahead of the concert, she said orchestra members were concerned about possible rain and low temperatures during the performance and attempting to find parking — the orchestra even chartered a small bus and encouraged carpooling among its members. 

“Once we start playing, we are so into it, nothing else matters,” Lafferty said. “Nobody’s worried about being too cold or the wind blowing or whether the audience is with us or not; we’re just so focused on the music and what we’re creating as a group that everything else is secondary.” 

However, the rain held off and the temperature remained around 60 degrees, and Lafferty said she was grateful the city invited the volunteer orchestra to be part of the Switchyard festivities. 

“I hope that everyone recognizes, in the orchestra, what a great opportunity that was for us,” Lafferty said. 

The orchestra concert was just one of many eclipse events Switchyard Park hosted this weekend. Friday night saw an eclipse-themed trivia night, and Saturday’s karaoke and movie night garnered large crowds to watch the 2016 film, “Hidden Figures.” Tara Brooke, community events specialist for the City of Bloomington, said she estimated 700-800 people attended events Saturday night at Switchyard.  

City of Bloomington Community Relations Manager Julie Ramey said she spoke with visitors from as far as Virginia and California over the weekend. 

“Attendance has been great. We've enjoyed seeing a lot of people, a lot of visitors, people coming from out of town as well as locals have been out here in the park,” Ramey said. 

The City of Bloomington will host “Celestial Spectacle Solar Eclipse Viewing Event” starting at noon Monday at Switchyard Park. The free event will feature food trucks, a beer garden, crafts, games and live music. 

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