Make no mistake, the Colorado Symphony, like many performing arts organizations and other entities around the country, are in a fight for their lives as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper a return to normal operations.
Through unwavering persistence and sheer determination, the Colorado Symphony has been tenacious in their efforts to continue bringing symphonic music to people and communities throughout the region and audiences around the country since the onset of the health crisis.
In response, audiences, donors, and philanthropic supporters have given back in record numbers, helping the Colorado Symphony Association (CSA) to an end of year giving campaign success story, the likes of which the organization has never seen before.
Burdened by the inability to host the kind of live, in-person concert events the CSA has become renowned for, the importance of philanthropic giving has never been more evident. In response to that need, our community of supporters responded en masse, led by an anonymous substantial gift that will allow the Colorado Symphony to continue paying its musicians and staff full salary compensation through the end of the fiscal year ending in June 2021, in addition to healthcare benefits.
The hope is that the CSA will continue to have the resources to compensate musicians and staff until outdoor concerts can begin again in the summer and further vaccination efforts lead to the eventual resumption of normal in-hall concert operations. Continued efforts for fundraising are crucial to the organization’s budgeting process as it prepare to pave a path forward well into 2021. The Play On Recovery Fund will continue its efforts until pre-pandemic operation levels are resumed.
“We’re beyond grateful to this anonymous donor for this incredibly generous gift,” said Jerome H. Kern, CEO and Chair of the Board of Trustees. “This significant donation will help maintain our operations as we continue to work towards the time when we can perform with audiences in Boettcher Concert Hall again. These gifts show us that we are seen by our community as a sound financial investment and much needed cultural keystone to Colorado while standing as a testament to the hard work of our leadership, musicians, and staff over the last decade. I know that with continued support, we’ll emerge from this difficult chapter with renewed passion to bring live symphonic music to audiences starved for public events. Together, we will play on.”
Since the start of the 2021 fiscal year on July 1, 2020, the Colorado Symphony has raised over $4.1 million, making it possible to keep musicians and staff together over the past 10 months, and allowing the orchestra to bring symphonic music into countless homes across the world, while expanding critically needed education programs to be offered virtually for students throughout the Centennial State.
In December alone, the CSA raised over $2.5 million dollars including a record-breaking Colorado Gives Day which raised $122,248.66, the completion of a matching $50,000 challenge grant by The Butler Family Fund of the Denver Foundation, over $150,000 in ticket donations by generous patrons and subscribers from cancelled concerts, and surpassing the $300,000 mark for the Play On Recovery Fund.
The anonymous substantial gift, bestowed upon the orchestra in late December, is an incredible testament to the community’s support of the organization. The CSA has seen immense encouragement from its patrons and supporters as it continually persevered with a tenacity and determination over the past 10 months to play on. By continuing to find new and innovative ways to perform and soliciting additional fundraising dollars at a substantially increased rate, the community has shown that the Colorado Symphony Association has become an increasingly sound investment.
That includes the formation of incredible holiday virtual content including the Together in Hope Independence Eve Virtual Concert and Colorado Christmas Virtual celebration, 15 socially distanced concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for limited audiences, eight socially distances performances in the Denver Performing Arts Complex Galleria, 22 weeks of Virtual Music Hours featuring rebroadcasts of past Colorado Symphony performances, and 80 original videos featuring Colorado Symphony musicians from home as part of the #PlayOn Series, including the Virtual Ode to Joy which became a viral sensation.
The need for additional philanthropy will continue and is vital moving forward. But the Colorado Symphony has successfully met the moment with a dedication to finding new and creative ways to meet the moment.
As the Colorado Symphony and music lovers around the state looks back on the year that was, they can be proud of the obstacles overcome and successes enjoyed. As the orchestra embarks on what will be another year of challenges, we remain determined to fulfill our mission of bringing live symphonic music to patrons across the state and preserving this art form for generations to come. With your continued support, we will weather the storm and look forward to the day when we can welcome a full house of concertgoers into Boettcher Concert Hall again.