Green Bay Symphony to Perform Final Season After 100 Years
The Board of Directors for theGreen Bay Symphony Orchestrahas announced that the Symphony's upcoming season will be its last. "It was a very difficult decision to make," said GBSO Executive Director Dan Linssen. "However, we cannot continue offering high quality, professional performances not knowing from concert to concert if we'll be able to cover our costs."
Several reasons were cited for the decision to close the doors after more than 100 years of performances:
· Insufficient financial support. There is increased competition for charitable donations and increased competition for state sponsored grants and dollars. Linssen explained, "While GBSO has added several new corporate sponsors in recent years, it has not been enough to offset the lost sponsorships, individual donations and ticket revenues."
· Declining number of attendees and season ticket subscribers. As competition for entertainment dollars increases, GBSO's season subscriptions have steadily fallen through the last 10 years.
· The cost of concerts. "The cost of operating a paid, professional orchestra in a market of our size is increasingly difficult," said Linssen. The cost of multiple rehearsals required to prepare a performance must be absorbed by a single concert. "When you're not selling out every concert, and don't have enough sponsors/donors, each concert becomes a loss financially," he added.
GBSO Board President, Bill Guc, said that in recent years, GBSO has worked hard to cut costs and raise revenues in order to keep the symphony operating. Those efforts included:
· Reducing staff.
· Working with musicians to cut costs and reduce rehearsal time.
· Hiring professional fundraisers who tried to develop additional donors and contributors.
· Adjusted programming in an attempt to increase attendance and attract new audiences.
· Enhanced concert-night activities.
"Unfortunately, it hasn't been enough to change our financial position," Guc said. "We understand that this is a blow to the community; having a professional symphony is a point of community pride."
Linssen said that Green Bay is not unique in its challenge to support a professional orchestra, "A number of communities are finding it increasingly difficult to financially sustain an orchestra. A few of those have also seen their orchestras cease operations."