Tobin Center In San Antonio Set To Open With Chamber Group Agarita | Texas Public Radio

Tobin Center In San Antonio Set To Open With Chamber Group Agarita

Jun 8, 2020

The Tobin Center is ready to present San Antonio's first music concert after being closed for months under COVID-19 restrictions. Sarah Silver Manzke plays violin with chamber quartet Agarita.


"The concert is really (a) shared experience. And we're hoping that this Saturday will allow the community to reconnect again,” she said. “We'll be together, feel together and really capture a sense of unity that we all think we need right now."

Sarah Silver Manzke and family
Credit Natalia Sun

To accomplish that dichotomy of allowing attendees to be together without sitting too close, the Tobin's Center's 1,738-person seating has been dramatically reduced.

"H-E-B Hall has a very large capacity, but the capacity for this concert is only 350," Manzke said.  

They have removed every other row of seats. Staffers will take peoples' temperatures as they arrive, provide masks for anyone who doesn't bring one and carry out many other safety procedures [see procedures at bottom]. 

Time Lapse of the Tobin Center seating converting from traditional rake to Social Distancing from The Tobin Center.

"At the heart of this, we have confidence in the safety protocol the Tobin Center has put forth which is really allowing us to focus on the art," she said.

The performance will offer an overview of the concerts they've given the last two years, with music from Shostakovich, Piazzolla, John Williams and others. This concert should set itself apart in the very fact that it’s happening. 

"We believe this is the first classical music ensemble in the US to return to a major concert hall with a live audience," she said.

The concert is Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and it's free. That means that the first 350 people in line will get in. 

COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols at The Tobin Center:

  •  All attendees will be temperature screened before entry. Patrons with elevated temperatures will not be allowed to enter.
  •   All attendees must wear a mask for entrance and anytime they are away from their seats or designated areas. (Masks will be provided to those without).
  • No outside food or drinks
  • No large purses, backpacks or bags
  • Touch free payments and ticket scanning
  • Restroom and elevator occupancy limited and monitored at all times
  • Frequent cleaning on touch surfaces and use of electrostatic disinfectant devices
  • Multiple touchless hand sanitizer locations are available throughout the venue.
  • Plexi guards in place for concessions, patron services and box office.
  • Seating in the H-E-B Performance Hall will be every other row with two seats empty between parties for adequate social distancing.
  • Floor markers for social distancing will be in place at all cueing locations- Parking garage elevator lobbies, Tobin elevator lobbies, concessions, patron services, merchandise, restrooms, & box office.
  • Tobin Center staff and volunteers will be temperature screened before entering the theater and will not be allowed to enter if elevated
  • Tobin Center staff and volunteers will wear face masks at all times. 

Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.