The Show Goes On at Westminster Celebrity Series

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Westminster College’s Celebrity Series of performing arts shows resumed in 2021 after being forced to shut down for more than 18 months because of the pandemic.

Patrons were able to watch two performances virtually during the shutdown, as the Celebrity Series streamed “Ireland with Michael Londra” and “50th Anniversary of The Who’s ‘Who’s Next.’ ”

But while the performances were enjoyed by patrons, it became clear that live-streamed shows are no substitute for the real thing.

“The magic that happens between a performer and the audience was missing,” says Connie McGinnis, director. “Nothing can replace live entertainment and we were anxious to get back to it.”

That happened in September, when Westminster welcomed patrons back to Orr Auditorium for “I Am He Said:  A Celebration of the Music of Neil Diamond,” which had been postponed from the 2019-2020 season.

A concert by Michael Bolton, also postponed from 2019-2020, has been rescheduled for April 26, 2022.

The Celebrity Series unveiled its 2021-2022 season in August. It kicked off in December with The Midtown Men Holiday Hits concert.

“Although attendance was at about 70% of what it was pre-pandemic, we are confident our attendance numbers will grow as our patrons regain their confidence to attend live events,” McGinnis says.

For safety, guests at all shows must wear a mask and show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

Air quality is maintained in the auditorium with high-efficiency filters, and the HVAC system has been adjusted to introduce the highest level of fresh air.

The 2021-2022 season will resume March 26 with a concert by Straight No Chaser.

The rest of the schedule comprises The Music & Friendship of Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson, May 5; Lucie Arnaz: I Got the Job! on May 21; and Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & Roll on June 18.

The 2022-2023 season will be announced in late spring, McGinnis says.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.