1Highlight of Upbeat Annual Meeting: Musicians Announce $250,000 Gift

The Minnesota Orchestra’s 2014-15 Annual Review on Dec. 3 included a surprise announcement by the musicians of a gift that is both substantive and symbolic. At the meeting in the Target Atrium Acting Associate Principal Bass Kate Nettleman announced that the musicians are dissolving the independent 501c3 nonprofit they had formed during the lockout and are giving $250,000 to the Minnesota Orchestra – money they had received in donations and earned through private concerts. Kate called the gift a “powerful symbol” of the new spirit of collaboration between the musicians, staff and board. It is being given in memory of Lee Henderson, the community leader who did so much to get the Orchestra up and running again after the lockout and died suddenly in April. The money will be used to establish a musician-led Bellwether Fund (as Kate said, “a Lee word” indicating direction, leadership) to support education and community programming. The Orchestra’s press release contains more information on the fund.

Board Chair Warren Mack reported that the balanced budget for FY 2015 announced in September is now official, showing a surplus of $15,000 on a budget of $31.1 million. This is great news, especially considering the $650,000 deficit from FY 2014 and the $6 million shortfall two years before that! However, Mack cautioned that we can’t become complacent – “… there are still plenty of mountains to be climbed ahead.” For more financial information, see the annual report.

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If you weren’t able to come to the annual review, this MinnPost article gives a good sense of the upbeat feel of the meeting. Newly-hired violinist Cece Belcher spoke of her joy at receiving the appointment and playing with the Orchestra. Amy Stoller Stearns from Detroit Lakes described this year’s Common Chords residency where musicians played in schools, senior centers – even a prison, delighting thousands who spoke of the thrill of hearing “our Minnesota Orchestra” up close and personal. Click here to watch a whole Year in Review video, including clips from both Detroit Lakes and Cuba.

December Funding Campaign: Fill Orchestra Hall with Donors

In keeping with Warren Mack’s caution about the hard work needed to balance the budget every single year, the Minnesota Orchestra has announced a new goal: to “virtually” fill Orchestra Hall with 2,000 new and renewing donors by Dec. 31 to provide critically needed funding to support the 2015-16 season. Check out this fun graphic to see why others believe the Minnesota Orchestra is important and why they’re supporting it. Then send your contribution today and, if you wish, tell why you’re giving. All donors who make a gift in December will be entered in a drawing to win a private 30-minute performance by co-principal violist Richard Marshall and associate concertmaster Roger Frisch. Click here for more details on this offer and the drawing — and also to find out how you can receive a limited edition CD of MPR’s live broadcast of the Minnesota Orchestra’s May 2015 concert in Havana, Cuba as a token of appreciation for your donation.

A Passion for the Cello Hidden and Revealed: MPR Interview with Minnesota Orchestra Board Chair Warren Mack and Principal Cellist Tony Ross

3Most guests on Classical MPR’s Music with Minnesotans bring their favorite recordings to share, but Warren Mack brought his favorite cellist, Tony Ross.

If you missed this delightful program, during which Tony plays solo pieces from Bach and Cassado, you can listen now. You’ll appreciate Warren’s thoughtful answers to questions about the Orchestra and its board – also enjoy his wry sense of humor and amusing stories about how this fifth generation lawyer became a “crypto-cellist” (he plays only when no one else is around).

OH+ Community Partnerships: Intermedia Arts “Spooktacular” Video

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View this amazing video created for the Minnesota Orchestra at Halloween by John Akre and youth animators of Intermedia Arts and set to the music of Dance Macabre. It’s just one example of the OH+: activities intended to engage audience members in additional ways. Typically partnerships with local nonprofits, these activities usually take place 1-2 hours before and/or after performances. Read more about OH+ (You+Community+Music) events scheduled for the holiday season, including a performance by the Minnetonka High School Chamber Singers, Scandinavian activities hosted by the American Swedish Institute and a post-concert opportunity to meet the trumpet section at the Scandinavian Christmas concert on Dec. 19.

Give a Gift of Music this Holiday Season

5Looking for holiday gift ideas? Here are a few ways you can give a gift of music:

  • Take a friend or family member to the Minnesota Orchestra’s Messiah Sing-along with the Minnesota Chorale on Sunday, Dec. 13.
  • Six-voucher Easy Pass package redeemable for 100+ performances start at $99. Give the vouchers to one person – or six different friends.
  • The $99 Casual Pass package can be used for any or all of the six 2016 Casual Concerts (Inside the Classics or Symphony in 60) – and you’ll get a whole list of additional benefits, such as free guest tickets and an opportunity to meet musicians on stage.
  • You might want to combine a gift voucher with a Grammy-winning Minnesota Orchestra CD – or any of the superb Beethoven, Sibelius or Bruckner recordings. Gift certificates in any amount are also available.
  • Pick up a few Minnesota Orchestra stocking stuffer gifts available in the lobby at the December concerts: choices range from ear warmers and a handsome porcelain tumbler to lipbalm, stickers and window clings – even a onesie for the youngest Orchestra fan in your family! Hurry – quantities of these items are limited.
  • For a gift you don’t even have to wrap, consider a $30 Music Box that includes a number of the above items – or a $130 Premier Music Box that also includes concert tickets, parking and gift vouchers.

We wish you and yours a most joyous holiday season and a very Happy New Year!

Musicians’ Surprise Announcement Brings Collaboration to a New Level