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Notes from The Seasons: It's time to face the music -- and dance!

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One of the great pleasures we typically experience at The Seasons Performance Hall this time of year is the rollout of top-flight concerts to kick off our fall concert calendar. This year we have a real doozy, starting with the Paperboys on Sept. 23, then following with four more concerts in various genres in rapid succession (see below).

Yet for all the seasonal excitement, nagging questions — looming impediments to the happy return of live audiences — have dominated discussion at The Seasons this month. What is a clean, clear response to the staggering COVID outbreak caused by the delta variant? What policy can best promote the personal safety of audiences, staff and performers during concerts in our beautiful venue?

Most concerning question of all: Do touring artists’ needs for strict vaccination policies threaten such live performances in Yakima altogether? These questions were answered succinctly in the following statement, released by The Seasons board of directors last week:

To protect the health and safety of all concertgoers and musicians through the remainder of 2021, The Seasons Performance Hall and our Gallery/Bistro will require proof at the door to any concert of either a COVID vaccination or recent (72-hour) negative COVID test, starting Sept. 23. Masks will be required at the door and in the hall unless you are seated. We ask that attendees help all of us stay safe by following these protocols. Our staff, board members and visiting musicians thank you for your understanding and support.

This policy, modeled on policies in other major Yakima entertainment venues, will impact some current ticket holders, and refunds will readily be issued. To mitigate, we plan to continue livestreaming throughout the fall so all our patrons, vaccinated or not, have access to live (or almost live) music at The Seasons several evenings a month.

So … we’ve faced the music. Now let’s dance! Here’s the lineup for our fabulous fall season:

Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m. — The Paperboys. One of the most popular folk acts ever at The Seasons. Why? Because they can be counted on to deliver a unique and ever-evolving brand of alt-rock, bluegrass, Mexican and gypsy music that somehow never disappoints.

Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m. — Negativland. A group of almost-crazy, but also crazy-good, alt-rockers have gathered a dedicated national audience for their rare concerts, which often border on conceptual art happenings. We are privileged to be one of their first stops this year.

Sept. 26, 6 p.m. — SEMPRE Chamber Music: Clarinet Serenade. First chair YSO clarinetist Angelique Poteat and concertmaster extraordinaire Denise Dillenbeck lead this exciting concert featuring clarinet quintets of Brahms and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an increasingly revered Afro-British composer from the early 20th century.

Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m. — The Duffy Bishop Blues Band. The queen of Northwest blues has not lost a step. Her driving band is the engine, but Duffy herself is the fuel — and the accelerant — with her Janice Joplin-style delivery. If you like the blues, don’t miss this!

Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m. — Roger Liazola & Simon Koffman. The headliner for our fifth Crafted Comedy performance is a fabled Los Angeles comic with a national following. Simon Kaufmann opens. The just-announced show kicks off our monthly Crafted Comedy series for 2021, hosted by Nahum Ray.

Also, don’t forget local musicians showcased in the Bistro from 5-9 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays. Come in for a bite and a beverage to support them. The Gallery/Bistro is also open at 5 p.m. prior to a main hall concert on any day of the week. Stay afterward for a “post-concert hang”; it gives concertgoing a new dimension. With regular music in the Bistro, and in spite of COVID, The Seasons in 2021 achieves a long-held dream: tons of music in many genres, literally every week of the year!

Bookmark and return regularly for the latest concert and Bistro news. It’s a good place to preview a gala 10-day celebration of our 16th birthday starting Oct. 9.

• Pat Strosahl is executive director of The Seasons Performance Hall. This column runs every four weeks in SCENE.

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