Glacier Symphony and Chorale is pleased to announce positive year-end financial results for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017. Reversing several years of budget deficits, a successful fundraising campaign in the spring of 2017 changed that trend to end the year with increased revenue, and a positive budget surplus. In addition, Glacier Symphony and Chorale has also grown its endowment funds to provide long-term financial stability. The endowments, comprised of a self-managed endowment and funds at four community foundations, now total $550,000. These donations are not used for general operating expenses each year, but rather provide a portion of interest income to ensure a more stable symphony organization for decades to come.
The past 5 years have been challenging for non-profit performing arts organizations across the country including our own Glacier Symphony. Fluctuations of subscriber and single ticket sales, donor attrition, and programming for a diverse audience reflect a few of those trials. Glacier Symphony and Chorale is bucking a national trend in the decline of symphony orchestras. Its board made a commitment to balance the budget in 2017, with the intent of strengthening the organization for the future.
Contributions from individual donors this spring dramatically increased due to a challenge match provided by the board of directors. The year ended with a 22% rise in individual fundraising over the prior fiscal year. Board President Julie Moffitt said, “We felt it was critical to stabilize our financial situation before embarking on a new 5 year strategic plan of growth. Population in the Flathead Valley is expanding, and a strong music community is an essential part of that growth. We desire to be leaders within it,” she added.
Executive Director Paul Larson outlined plans for the next five years:
- Continue to balance our budget each year by carefully managing expenses and augmenting our individual donor base
- Provide new opportunities for our community business partners to support us while creatively leveraging their partnerships with the Symphony
- Increase musician compensation to reflect current artistic achievements, future development and stability of the orchestra
- Expand our community music education and outreach programs, to bring more music to more people, especially children/youth
- Further maximize our endowment by direct and deferred giving to enhance long term financial stability
Larson stated “We still have challenges in ticket sales, as our paid tickets were down 4% in 2017 over 2016. We’ve restructured our subscription packages and lowered prices to incentivize folks to enjoy our concerts multiple times during the year. Our goal is to significantly boost the number of households who will come to three or more musical events each season.” He also noted that the Symphony has reviewed its expenses to make certain it continues to be a responsible manager of their donors’ resources.
Glacier Symphony Artistic Director and Conductor John Zoltek continues to program dynamic and varied musical programs in order to reach and build wider audiences for symphonic, pops and special presentation events, while giving back through outreach programs.
Glacier Symphony and Chorale will perform 27 concert events for over 12,000 residents and visitors in the Flathead Valley in their 2017/2018-season beginning in September. It produces Festival Amadeus, a weeklong summer classical music festival, and engages with over 3500 students each year through education and outreach programs.
“Our symphony and chorale continues to successfully engage and serve music lovers of all ages in our immediate communities and beyond. We look forward to a dynamic future as we continue to explore and perform great symphonic and choral music.” – Maestro Zoltek finishes.
For more information about the Glacier Symphony visit www.gscmusic.org or call the GSC office 406-407-7000.