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Community steps up to save San Antonio Symphony

Gifts pour in since financial troubles announced

SAN ANTONIO – The community has stepped up to save the San Antonio Symphony yet again.

Kathleen Weir Vale, the new chair of the San Antonio Symphony Society Board, said the old board will step in to provide governance for the orchestra after the Symphonic Music for San Antonio Board, which was in transition to take over, quit following financial concerns.

Since the financial troubles were announced Thursday, community gifts have poured in, Vale said. 

“We're kind of retooling, coming back up. We’re starting in a great spot, we're solvent, and we have gifts pouring in from the community,” she said. “There’s no gift too small or too large.”

Vale said there is an effort to ensure that the symphony belongs to the people and not an organization or entity, but that requires community support.

“The city needs to step up and own the orchestra,” she said.

Efforts are underway to determine which of the 16 remaining shows will be able to continue. Some modifications will have to be made, Vale said.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the city will continue to provide support to ensure the Tricentennial season is saved and beyond.

“There's two things happening. (We have to) work to have a robust season, but we're also making sure we have a long-term solution for SSA so generations can enjoy a symphony in San Antonio,” Nirenberg said.

The solution will have to include finding sponsors and more ticket holders.

The city allocated some $600,000 dollars for the 2018 fiscal year. About 40 percent of that has already been distributed. Now that the donations and funds have come in to support the season, the remaining $300,000 or so will be released.

More than 1,100 tickets were available for Saturday’s performance, according to a representative with the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Some 300 tickets were not sold.

Nirenberg has a message for the orchestra members: “Keep working hard. We believe in you. Let’s make sure we work together to ensure a long-term viable symphony orchestra in San Antonio.”  


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