DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Live music and performances returned to the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton for the Dayton Performing Art Alliance’s first full season since the start of the pandemic.

The first performance also marks the start of Dayton Live’s vaccination requirement.

Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s first performance payed tribute to frontline workers, the heroes of the pandemic.

“To all those people who made it possible for us to continue with life, who made it possible for the sick to be treated, it was such a difficult season for everybody,” Dayton Performing Arts Alliance President and CEO Patrick Nugent said.

“My husband is concert master this season, and this is the opening and we’re excited that they’re back for a full season, so I can’t wait,” Rachel Oprea said.

Friday was also the first day of new COVID-19 protocols.

Last month, Dayton Live announced either a vaccine card or proof of negative COVID-19 test would be required to see all of their performances at any of their venues. Masks are also required at all times.

“We have a responsibility to our fellow people to keep them safe, as well as ourselves, and I’m in favor of all of it,” patron Ron Whitehead said.

Dayton live officials said ticket sales are strong, but they’d like to see them get stronger as the season goes on.

“We understand everyone makes choices about what they’re comforable with in terms of activity, so I’m really grateful for those who feel comfortable enough to come to a performance,” Nugent said.

And those who did buy a ticket for Friday night were happy to be there.

“This is wonderful, we had a nice dinner, now we have this, it’s like having a normal life again,” Whitehead said.

Also in effect Friday, the Neon Theater is requiring proof of vaccination status for those 12 and up or a negative COVID-19 test from the past 72 hours.