2020 has been a tough year for classical music. Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, orchestras nationwide have been forced to shut their doors and furlough their employees, jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of musicians and administrators alike. All orchestras, no matter the size, have been affected in some way, and for many of these organizations, the long-term outlook has been bleak. In Abilene, however, there is cause for optimism, and even more importantly, hope.
While the APO’s final two concerts of the 2019-20 season were postponed due to the pandemic, the month of May brought about our first real cause for optimism. Abilene Gives was a resounding community-wide success, and our donors gave five times the amount of money they did in the previous campaigns. Less than two months later, the APO Board made the difficult decision to cancel the rescheduled Canadian Brass concert. Once again, our patrons were there for us.
An overwhelming majority of our Canadian Brass patrons agreed to donate their tickets for this performance back to our organization. It is this benevolent support that has allowed our Board of Directors to approve a generous motion to give partial payment to those musicians who were contracted to perform in the Canadian Brass concert.
While many things go into running and supporting a professional symphony orchestra, the musicians are the backbone of the entire operation. With no musicians, there would be no music. As our patrons have continued to take care of our great organization, we feel it is our duty to take care of our musicians as well. In these uncertain times, we hope that this gesture can make an impact on our musicians, but maybe even more importantly, we hope that it serves as an example to the rest of the orchestral community.