Symphony Cancels February Performances - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/29/03

Symphony Cancels February Performances

Savannah Symphony officials are speaking out, and the news isn't good. Recently, they announced they were having money problems and cancelled their January concerts. Yesterday, they made another announcement, now cancelling all scheduled performances for February. After major fundraising, efforts they'll announce their future next month.

Orchestra members and symphony employees were hoping for some good news, but instead they're stuck in limbo for another four weeks.

"We're dying to get back to work," said Orchestra Committee member John Warren.

They haven't received paychecks since January 2, and don't know if or when they'll see their next. But the symphony's executive director, Paul Chambers, says they're trying.

"We've made close to $600,000 in cuts to finish this season," he told us. "We've announced further reductions. This isn't business as usual."

It's going to take numerous steps for the symphony to get back on track. The number one problem at this point is money. They're $1.2 million in the hole for this season, the same place they were two years ago.

"We need an additional 450,000 to know we can open our doors," Chambers said.

That's in cash, by February 28. But that's not all. Chambers added that the symphony will want some assurance that an additional $550,000 will be in place through pledges. They're hoping this will come from the same people who bailed them out last time: the community and corporate sponsors.

"I said we would not do it again unless there's a drastic change in the way we do business," Chambers said. "We are now approaching the symphony on a much different level and we do hope to get their support back."

Now those who are holding symphony tickets for shows either this month or next month are probably wondering what this means. At this point, you can turn January's tickets in for a tax deduction. For season ticket holders, they're planning on putting that money in escrow, hoping there is a next season.

Reported by: Holly Bristow, hbristow@wtoc.com

 

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