One of our teachers, Hannah Cho, was recently featured in the News-press!
Southwest Florida Symphony’s 53rd season is happening after all. And here’s the surprising thing: Symphony leaders didn’t have to cut a single concert or guest conductor.
“There’s nothing missing,” says symphony board President Christine La Croix. “We were able to shake the bushes and come up with the funding.”
That’s a dramatic turnaround from five months ago, when symphony leaders owed $200,000 and were forced to lay off their entire administrative staff. The symphony also considered cutting concerts or canceling the 2013-14 season altogether.
Then The News-Press published a series of stories on the symphony’s financial woes, and the community rallied. Now donations and fundraisers have reduced that debt to $35,000, and more money is coming in all the time, says symphony treasurer John Hudson.
Symphony leaders kept all their originally scheduled concerts by cutting costs wherever they could. That included moving their office to a cheaper space, scaling back production values, finding concert sponsors and renegotiating contracts with guest conductors and musicians.
But they didn’t skimp on the most important thing, La Croix says. That’s the music.
“We’re going to be able to put on quality concerts that are going to sound just as good,” she says, “but they won’t cost as much money.”
This is an important season for the symphony. Five guest conductors will visit and compete for the vacant music director post. They’ll interview, meet musicians and audience members, rehearse with the symphony and conduct one concert each.
La Croix hopes to choose a winner from those candidates, but the fit has to be just right. A popular conductor – such as former maestro Michael Hall – could drive up ticket sales, but an unpopular one could have the opposite effect.
“We cannot mess around,” La Croix says. “We really have to get this right. If one of these guys doesn’t fit us, we will go back to the drawing board.”
It will be a busy five months, no doubt. But La Croix says they’re going into their 53rd season with a positive attitude and a promising financial outlook.
“Back in April, I doubted that we would even be here today,” La Croix says. “I was very skeptical.
“But things are better now. We can do this.”
*** Featured in the News-press, “SWFL Symphony’s 53rd season is a go after all” | Written by Charles Runnells | Sep. 15 | News-press.com
Hannah Cho performs with other Southwest Florida Symphony musicians at a June symphony fundraiser. / KINFAY MOROTI/THE NEWS-PRESS