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SSO begins second half of capital campaign

Date: 1/26/2010

Jan. 27, 2010.

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- Staff and supporters of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SS0) gathered at Symphony Hall on Jan. 20 to note reaching the halfway mark in the organization's $3.5 million capital campaign.

Thomas Creed, the president of the SSO, explained to Reminder Publications the SSO will now enter the public part of the campaign reaching out to foundations, companies and citizens for support.

The proceeds from the campaign will be added to the SSO's endowment to provide a greater operating fund, he said. Only 35 percent of the SSO's revenue comes from ticket sales.

Creed called completing the campaign in these uncertain economic times "a challenge but not impossible." He noted that attendance at the SSO's classical concerts is stable and that audiences for the four pops concerts each season vary based on the guest performer.

He anticipates the campaign's goals will be met within the next 12 to 18 months.

Last season, people from 232 different zip codes came to Springfield to attend a symphony performance and Creed said he considers the SSO the best orchestra in New England next to the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Maestro Kevin Rhodes said the fact the orchestra's musicians come from Boston, New York City and even Montreal, Canada, to perform in Springfield is a testimony to the quality of the SSO. Rhodes described the orchestra as "very seasoned" with many of its players having been part of it for 20 to 25 years.

Another indicator of the skill of the ensemble, Rhodes said, is the quick turn-around for the performances. Preparation for a concert begins on Thursday and after only nine hours of rehearsal the SSO is ready for its two-hour concert on Saturday evening.

Rhodes also noted the economic contribution the SSO has made in Springfield.

"Downtown is a different place on symphony nights," he said. "It's buzzing."

A 2007 survey by the Springfield-based Business Friends of the Arts reported the SSO made an impact of nearly $4 million with $1.9 million in wages, purchases and capital investments as well as $1.8 million in indirect contributions such as restaurant and hotel revenues.

For information on donating, contact Janet Egelhofer, endowment campaign director, at 733-0636 ext. 22 or at