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Convention Center holds first convention this week since start of pandemic


The Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center will be doing something this week that it hasn’t done since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It will host a convention.

The College Music Society will have its 64th National Conference in Rochester from Thursday through Saturday. 

More than 350 members of the society, which consists of music professionals in higher education, will meet at both at the Convention Center and at the Eastman School of Music.

James Brown is executive director for the Convention Center and he said that there are four more conventions scheduled for the facility through the rest of this year.

Brown said that a lot of conventions have trade shows associated with them, and those exhibitors really prefer in-person conventions as opposed to virtual events.

“Most without exception would tell you it’s really not the way that they want to communicate with their potential customers and clients,” Brown noted. “Brand recognition, face to face, there’s a part of that that is just irreplaceable when it comes to a virtual meeting, it’s just not going to be the same.”

Tracy Cowden is program chair for the College Music Society conference, and she said their members are very happy about being able to meet in person again.

“And I think they’re just really excited…to be together and perform for each other and present papers and research and get back to some sense of what it’s like to gather in person and share ideas with colleagues from around the country. And, the Zoom fatigue is pretty real,” said Cowden.

The College Music Society is requiring its attendees for this week’s convention be vaccinated. And Brown said the Convention Center has implemented a number of additional cleaning standards and protocols to keep visitors safe.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.