Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, May 22, 2020

Symphony’s annual fund campaign ends May 31

Donations allow the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera to bring educational and community programming to the Chattanooga area. - Photograph provided

The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera will conclude its 2019-20 annual fund campaign May 31 as the organization concludes its fiscal year.

This year’s campaign ends as the organization faces new challenges due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The remainder of its 2019-20 season was canceled as a precaution against the spread of the virus, including five regular concerts and both performances of “Disney in Concert” 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 canceled performances.

“Giving during these uncertain times keeps the CSO moving forward,” says Rebekah 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.”

Ticket revenues account for less than 40% of CSO’s annual operating budget, making donations crucial in helping the organization bring music and music education to the community.

“Since the crisis has pushed people into their homes, access to the arts has become difficult for all of us,” says Taylor Brown, CSO principal bass. “It’s more important 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.

The CSO is also bringing classical music into homes with digital performances on its 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 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 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.

The organization also provides a variety of free community programming, including its Sensory Friendly Concert series, Instrument Petting Zoo and string and quintet performances at libraries, hospitals, public parks and community centers.

And the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s youth orchestras provide orchestral training and performance opportunities for more than 200 students from over 40 local schools.

“We talked a lot during the 2019-20 season about how music heals, comforts and inspires people across generations. This is even more apparent in context of the global health crisis,” Cheney says. “Each gift made this season – regardless of size – plays a part in the ongoing service of our community.”

Donate to the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera at chattanoogasymphony.org. Contact Cheney at rcheney@chattanoogasymphony.org.

Source: Chattanooga Symphony & Opera