After holding out hope that the summer might bring an opportunity to open late, the Edwards County High School Music Department announced that the 2020 iteration of ECHS Dinner Theater was officially cancelled on Monday.

Initially postponed, ECHS Band and Choir Director Sarah Swardstrom made the decision to cancel Dinner Theater Monday morning, making the announcement on the music department’s Facebook page. The music instructor cited limitations on the size of public gatherings as the primary reason for the cancellation.

“It is with a heavy hart that I am announcing the cancellation of Dinner Theater 2020,” posted Swardstrom. “The students worked so hard, and this was not an easy decision.

“However, with all of the uncertainty that we face and the limitations on meeting sizes (all of which our ensembles exceed), I must be realistic and see that it is just not feasible this year.”

Swardstrom noted that refunds for tickets already purchased for the event are currently available through the school’s high school office. The office can be reached by phone at 618-445-2325 to confirm someone will be present to administer the refund in person, or tickets can be mailed to:

361 W. Main Street

Albion, IL 62806

The loss of ticket sales will impact the budget of the music program. Dinner Theater serves as the program’s largest fundraiser each year.

Expenditures for the performances had already been spent as well, leaving the program with bills for a show they were never able to display.

“For those of you who have already donated your ticket purchases to the music department, we are so thankful!” Swardstrom said. “We had purchased everything for the performances and those costs still have to be covered by our program.

“We will definitely feel the loss of this fundraiser just as everyone is feeling the devastating blow to the economy.”

However, Swardstrom is confident the program can withstand the financial blow from COVID-19.

“We will all survive together and your music program will come out on the other side, providing a place for students to pursue their passion of music making and providing the community with quality music education.”