By Rachel Holt

BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Symphony Hall is reopening to the public for the first time in 18 months.

“I’m sure if the Hall could talk it would say, ‘whew I thought you guys had forgotten about me, it’s great to be back,’” said Keith Lockhart, Conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra.

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The Boston Symphony Orchestra celebrated the occasion with a free concert on Sunday titled “Concert for our City: Reunited at Symphony Hall,” a program that featured Lockhart and other featured BSO titled conductors including Andris Nelsons, Thomas Wilkins, and John Williams.

“We had 2,000 people join us from really all across the spectrum of our Boston audience and they seemed so enthusiastic to be here. It was really kind of a lovefest,” said Lockhart.

Since March 2020, the BSO has taken the stage at Symphony Hall to perform virtually, but members of the orchestra admit nothing beats an in-person audience.

Cynthia Meyers plays piccolo in the BSO. She has been a member of the orchestra since 2006.

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“They’re not passive listeners. They’re active listeners. And we react to them, and they react to us. It’s just it’s so great to have everybody back, I can’t even begin to tell you. It’s really great,” said Meyers.

“We did an entire virtual season that was all shot here but it’s always missing something without the audience,” said Lockhart. “Live performance is first and foremost about that connection.”

Safety protocols in place require concert-goers to wear a mask and either show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test in order to enter the hall. Full details about safety protocols can be found on their website.

“Everybody came in with a smile on their face and everybody left with a smile on their face. We’re looking forward to a fall of live music-making in Symphony Hall with all of our COVID protocols in place,” said Lockhart.

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The BSO’s 2021-22 season runs through April 30th.

Rachel Holt