The shows will go on for Elgin Symphony Orchestra as fundraising reaches goal

  • The Elgin Symphony Orchestra officials said they raised the $140,000 needed to present the season finale concerts in May. They continue to "aggressively fundraise" for the next season.

    The Elgin Symphony Orchestra officials said they raised the $140,000 needed to present the season finale concerts in May. They continue to "aggressively fundraise" for the next season. courtesy OF James Harvey

 
 
Updated 4/3/2018 2:13 PM

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra's season finale concerts were saved by "an outpouring of support" from the community, which donated more than $140,000 since a public plea 10 days ago, orchestra officials said.

The May 5 and 6 concerts will go on as scheduled and there will be a rehearsal open to the public May 4, all at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin, senior director of marketing Diane K. Handler said Tuesday.

 

"Let me stress that we are still in acute need and are continuing to 'aggressively' fundraise," she said about the 2018-19 season. "We will not become complacent."

The symphony announced last week it needed to raise $140,000 to break even for the season and pay off its bills to the city of Elgin, or an estimated $51,335 in rent for concerts and rehearsals since November.

"A few donors gave large amounts" and more than 100 people have given from $5 to $2,500, Handler said. "The $140,000 has been raised and we are a bit over. Those funds will go toward the 2018-19 season and the endowment."

The ESO, now in its 67th season, has a $2.2 million yearly budget, about 35 percent coming from tickets sales and the rest from grants and donations. Donations this year fell short, officials said.

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Music Director Andrew Grams made a public plea for giving the weekend of March 24 and CEO David Bearden discussed the financial problems with the board last week. Board members also stepped up to help, Bearden said.

"We are obviously all very gratified and appreciative of all the donations, cards, phone calls and notes we have received during this difficult period," Bearden said.

Still, "the challenge continues" for the symphony, whose members also play at Gail Borden Public Library, hospitals, schools and retirement communities, Bearden said. "The ESO needs every person in the communities the ESO serves to become an advocate and supporter of the services provided," he said.

The May concerts will feature Leonard Bernstein's "Candide Suite." The symphony and Gail Borden Public Library host a free "Bernstein Birthday Bash" May 1 at the library that includes an introduction by Grams, cake and a screening of the film "West Side Story," for which Bernstein composed the music.

Reservations are required for the May 4 rehearsal at elginsymphony.org.

Donations can be made at elginsymphony.org, by calling (847) 888-0404, by visiting the office at 20 DuPage Court, or by mailing a check to that address.

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