Crucial to keep symphony in Elgin
As an Elgin resident for over 40 years, I've seen our city, particularly the downtown area, transform from a rundown ghost of a city to an emerging vibrant place. One of the true gems that has really put us on the map is the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, which has grown into one of the premier orchestras in the Midwest. However, the economy has hit hard, and funding is not what it used to be.
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On Feb. 23, I read the front page Daily Herald article on whether Elgin should fund the ESO. The city should do everything in its power to ensure ESO remains here. My fear is that if the city does not help ESO through a tough financial time, the orchestra will locate somewhere else where they can realize support. I have no doubt many other municipalities would jump at the chance to have the orchestra be their crown jewel.
One of the candidates for city council, Chindavanh Keomuongchanh, who was opposed to supporting the orchestra, commented that if he ran a business for 50 years and it still wasn't profitable, he would find something else to do. Well, he obviously doesn't understand that arts organizations never prosper on ticket sales alone. They depend on donations, foundation grants and, yes, assistance from the city they call home. I hope all current and future council members realize the importance of keeping the symphony in Elgin. ESO draws residents from many other communities; I doubt many of them would come to Elgin if not for ESO.
Let's also not forget what ESO members donate to our hospitals, schools and other programs so that our residents and children can experience the joy of music. With the near demise of music and arts in our school curriculum, this is an invaluable contribution.