This month, the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera will conclude its 2019/20 Annual Fund campaign, an opportunity for community members to support the organization, its musicians, and the community and educational programming that the CSO provides to the Greater Chattanooga area. The campaign ends on May 31 as the organization concludes its fiscal year, and gifts made or pledged before that date will support the CSO’s 2019/20 season.
This year’s campaign ends as the organization continues to face new challenges due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The remainder of its 2019/20 season was cancelled as a precaution against the spread of the virus, including five regular series concerts and both performances of the highly anticipated Disney in Concert Tale as Old as Time special event on March 28. The CSO instituted a temporary salary reduction for all administrative and artistic staff to help the organization financially and took steps to ensure musicians would still receive a portion of their lost wages for those cancelled performances.
“Giving during these uncertain times keeps the CSO moving forward,” said Rebekah B. Cheney, CSO Development director. “Since other streams of income are limited due to COVID-19, securing donations before our fiscal year-end is more important than ever.”
With proceeds from ticket revenues accounting for less than 40 percent of CSO’s annual operating budget, donations play a crucial role in helping the organization bring music and music education to community members of all ages and backgrounds. “Expanding accessibility and equity in the arts has been a goal of the CSO before the COVID-19 crisis,” said Taylor Brown, CSO principal bass. “Since the crisis has pushed people into their homes and put a halt to our normal lives, access to the arts has become difficult for all of us. It is important, now more than ever, for donors to continue to support the CSO, making it possible for all Chattanoogans to have access to the arts during these unprecedented times and into the future.”
The CSO has found new and creative ways to continue making music and educational programming accessible to community members as they shelter-in-place. Its musicians have recorded a series of educational videos for use by Hamilton County schools, ranging from detailed overviews of the instruments of the orchestra to reading storybooks to the county’s youngest students, and they are bringing classical music directly into homes with frequent digital performances on the organization’s social media accounts. Audience members can even get a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of professional musicians with the Musician Social Media Takeover series, a new program in which a CSO musician takes the reins of the organization’s social media accounts for a full 24 hours to share music knowledge, demonstrations, and more.
Donations also allow the organization to bring educational and community programming to the Chattanooga area:
The CSO’s education programs, the largest arts education initiative by an organization in the community, serve more than 35,000 students annually. The Ensembles in Schools program brings the organization’s musicians into local elementary and secondary schools to introduce students to instruments and basic music concepts with age-appropriate programs that reinforce Hamilton County, state, and national standards for music education.
The organization provides a variety of free community programming, including their Sensory Friendly Concert series, Instrument Petting Zoo, and string and quintet performances with CSO musicians at local libraries, hospitals, public parks, and community centers.
The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s Youth Orchestras provide high-quality orchestral training and performance opportunities for more than 200 students from over 40 different local schools.
“We talked a lot during the 2019/20 season about how music heals, comforts, and inspires people across generations, and I think it’s even more apparent in context of the current global health crisis,” said Ms. Cheney. “Each gift made this season – regardless of size – plays a part in the ongoing service of our community.”
To donate to the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, visit chattanoogasymphony.org. For questions about the donation process, contact Ms. Cheney at email@example.com.