Colorado Symphony donors impact the community in a number of ways and one example is the Community Ticketing Initiative (CTI), a program that provides free Colorado Symphony tickets to underserved families, children, and individuals who might not otherwise have the means to attend a concert. This past season, community members claimed more than 6100 tickets representing more than $344,000 in donor underwriting from numerous supporters.
This summer, a group from the Denver Public Library’s (DPL) Plaza program participated in the Community Ticketing Initiative, attending the July 20th Lunar Landing 50th Anniversary Celebration concert featuring music by John Williams and Mason Bates, archival footage of the moon landing, and narration by University of Colorado Astronaut Richard Hieb. Virginia Vassar, the director of DPL’s Plaza program, and Jackeline Ruiz, an Activities Leader with Plaza, were thrilled with the opportunity to bring their patrons to the Colorado Symphony.
Plaza is a program that serves individuals and families new to the Denver area and aims to introduce their program participants to area resources, institutions, and people. This particular trip was from the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch branches and even included one patron who bused from Thornton in order to have his first Colorado Symphony experience.
“Going through the galleria and walking into the lobby was just majestic,” said Vassar.
She also shared that coming downtown was a notable change of pace from the programs they host in their library branches during the day. None of the program participants knew what to expect as this was their first time attending a Colorado Symphony concert and their first experience in the Performing Arts Complex.
“It was beautiful to watch their expressions as the program participants entered the concert hall and experienced the music,” said Ruiz.
The Plaza participants loved the music, but that was especially true of the families who attended. When the orchestra began their first piece of the night, the Star Wars theme, “all the kids jumped out of their seats in surprise and excitement,” said Vassar.
Ruiz added she was especially glad to see the reaction from the children in attendance. “They loved the music, getting to hear from an astronaut and seeing the Colorado astronauts’ hall of fame.” She hopes these children getting their first experience with live classical music will grow a continued appreciate of music as art.
When asked what her favorite memory of the night was, Ruiz said, “The community of people. It brought people together from many communities and introduced them to aspects of Denver they didn’t know about before. Especially those who participated who were elderly, it gave them something to come out for and get excited about.” Ruiz took time during the night’s activities to also tell program participants about ways to be involved with the arts programs downtown including student and child ticket prices, community concerts, and education programs, emphasizing “art is about opportunity.”
Several days after the concert, Vassar sent the Colorado Symphony the following message:
“I wanted to say a huge thank you to the CO Symphony staff who provided us with free tickets to the Lunar Landing 50th Anniversary celebration. [The evening of the concert] we picked up participants from the Green Valley Ranch Branch Library and the Montbello Branch Library by bus. After eating dinner together and giving participants time to get to know one another if they didn’t already, we got back on the bus and headed downtown for the symphony show. Many of the people who came are regular participants in our Plaza programs, which are targeted at immigrants and refugees. Several others were library community members in the north east who face transportation or financial barriers and jumped at the chance to meet new people and travel downtown for this wonderful opportunity.”
“The group came from a variety of backgrounds and experiences: Newly arrived refugees, long-time residents, citizens both naturalized and born in Colorado; Spanish speakers, Amharic speakers, Vietnamese speakers, and French speakers. The group ranged widely in age. No one in the group had ever visited the CO symphony before. Everyone expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to attend such a special event. Thank you for making it possible!”