The Sault Symphony Orchestra needs your help to keep their strings in tune in the Sault in 2020.
Dr. Lawrence Chong, former President of the orchestra, went before council during Monday evening’s meeting to plead the case of one of the oldest longstanding culture groups of Sault Ste. Marie.
The SSO has been around for 47 years, but the past few have seen some financial challenges that threaten the future of the organization.
“As community leaders in Sault Ste. Marie, you can understand how important the symphony is to the life of our community,” Dr. Chong said, speaking to City Council.
“A symphony anchors the fine arts in any community. It is vital to attracting and retaining professionals, such as doctors and other investors to a community because it provides a regular program of uplifting, engaging and intellectual entertainment.
“Needless to say, the arts in Sault Ste. Marie is not only important, but a symphony properly supported will be impactful in the growth and development of our community, as well as the long-term social and economic development,” he continued.
The costs of bringing talents from across the region to share the stage in the Sault over the past 47 years, and shortfalls from the previous board of directors, have led to financial shortfalls when revenues have not covered costs. These shortfalls have led the Symphony to deficits as high as $50,000 at the end of the 2017 season.
Despite efforts from the new board of directors over the past two years – which include: regaining charitable status with Revenue Canada, cutting expenses by doing smaller concerts in churches, partnering with the Algoma District School Board (obtaining free rent space for their office in exchange for school programs, and limiting telephone and internet costs) – the SSO is still in need of $25,000 to bridge the gap left by the previous board.
“The financial institution which we work with has made it difficult for us to manage our cash flow and we are finding it difficult now to move forward that way,” Dr. Chong explained.
“Symphony members have contributed several thousands already, and we’re hopeful we can get through this and continue the music. We have worked very hard in the past two years to celebrate our proud victories, this recent event has set us back, however, and the decision to reach out to the public has been a difficult one.”
The symphony exists because of volunteers, and only a handful of musicians receive any compensation for their hours that they’ve invested in the symphony, he said.
Costs that the Symphony has to carry itself include: sound, lighting, technicians, program printing, a few musicians (both local and travelling), and travel costs for those brought in.
“The community’s help would bring us so much joy and confidence that we are on the right track moving forward, and hopefully we’ll be in the black…and be around for the next 47 years,” Dr. Chong said.
Anyone looking to reach out and support the Symphony can do so by visiting their website here.