TIMMINS -- Community groups in Timmins are pooling their creative talents to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Timmins Symphony Orchestra and the Porcupine Dante Club are 'double dating'- so to speak - next month to bring 'A Taste of Italy' event that's sure to please music lovers and foodies alike.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, community orchestras have had to decide whether to keep the show going or put down the baton until things get better.

"Orchestras are doing things. They're trying to adapt. I certainly wouldn't fault anyone for not doing anything because it's very difficult and it's a lot of work," said Josh Wood, music director for the Timmins Symphony Orchestra.

Wood credits low case numbers in Timmins and the ability to assemble safely as the main reasons why it can continue at this time.

However, some musicians were concerned about returning to rehearsals. 

Flutists, for example, play wind instruments with the air going across the flute and not directly into it like other wind instruments. However, specialized masks have helped.

"It's got a lot more space around the face and a little button hole in the sides, so we push the flute inside and we play within the mask. It doesn't affect the sound of the flute but it contains all the air that's coming out," explained Nicole Alexander, flautist with the Timmins Symphony Orchestra. 

"'Put a sock in it' as they say, to cover the bell of instrument; as well we have Plexiglas shields on our stands," added clarinetist Randy Pickering.   

Sitting further apart from other players has been a big adjustment for Pickering. He said the sound isn't traveling as fast and with the conductor also farther away, so he finds he has to pay extra attention.

But they all said, the extra effort is worth it for the chance to bring music to the community.

The orchestra is rehearsing this weekend for its first concert since the pandemic began.  

It will be broadcasted on the Timmins Symphony Orchestra's Facebook page and website on Nov. 7.

"The (Porcupine) Dante Club is actually preparing a 'Taste of Italy' take out meal that will be available for order so you can order your Italian takeout and watch the taste of Italy concert," said Wood.

The concert is free, but donations will be welcomed as several of the musicians are professional and are continuing to try and make a living during the pandemic.