Even as Colorado slowly reopens, COVID-19 continues to loom over the state. In order to mark this somber moment, celebrate music and reach for a little grace, the Colorado Symphony teamed up with Denver Botanic Gardens on Make Music Day, June 21, for a physically distanced alphorn duet of "Amazing Grace."
The song was played by principal horn player Michael Thornton and Matthew Eckenhoff in the still-closed Mordecai Children's Garden. The alphorn, a wooden horn from the Swiss Alps that's around fourteen feet long, gave the musicians the chance to play six feet apart while allowing their instruments to be side by side. The instruments were originally used to communicate across mountains.
“As we carefully and responsibly begin to reopen major SCFD organizations, it was such fun to use ‘socially distanced’ instruments...in the idyllic Denver Botanic Gardens,” explains Thornton in a statement. “Playing pastoral music in this beautiful setting was a joy and privilege.”
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Music is nothing new to the Denver Botanic Gardens, which had to cancel its 2020 summer concert series.
“During this time of COVID-19 quarantine and temporary Denver Botanic Gardens closure...we wanted to find creative and collaborative ways to activate the empty Gardens,” notes Erin Bird, communications manager for the Denver Botanic Gardens, in the same statement.
“We are thrilled Colorado Symphony was interested in bringing two musicians to Mordecai Children’s Garden to perform the powerful and hopeful ‘Amazing Grace,' Bird adds. "Not only does this video performance provide fun content for our social media audiences, but it also celebrates the supportive nature of SCFD organizations.”