The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s that time of year when people are making last-minute donations in order to add to what they can write off on their taxes. As well they should. There are plenty of places out there that are in need of our generosity, so I say, go for it!

My favorite orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra is one such organization. Two more that I think are well worth your support are the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and the Westerville Symphony Orchestra. Why these three? Because I’ve been to performances of all three in the last few months or so and think they’re fabulous!  (CSO – six concerts, ProMusica – one concert, with tickets for another this Sunday, and Westerville Symphony – two concerts.) There’s some great music to be heard in this town, friends! And WOSU Radio – Classical 101 – I listen to them all the time.  Their app helps keep me sane at work when stress levels are high and my hyper coworker is far louder than usual!

Many orchestras have a 60/40 split – 60% off donations and 40% off ticket sales. Not sure about ProMusica or Westerville, but the Columbus Symphony Orchestra has a 70/30 split. That means 70% of their operating budget (per the last two annual reports – 2011 / 2012) stems from donations and only 30% from ticket sales, so they definitely have their work cut out for them in terms of soliciting donations. They’re so worth it though because their musicians are amazingly good! Of course – you could all just start buying tickets like I do. Hey – It’s a suggestion. You support them AND get an evening of fantastic music!

Support your community!

Supporting the arts helps to support your community. Think about it – you’re helping to keep people employed – always a plus. You’re getting high quality, live entertainment! Very cool. You’re helping to improve and expand educational opportunities for both children and adults. Both necessary. And you bring in tourism dollars by helping to give people yet another reason to visit your town. Tourism helps boost your local economy!

Arts and culture make up a significant chunk of our economy. The A/P recently reported how the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment of the Arts have released a study on just how much arts and culture, a.k.a. “Creative industries”, contribute to our national economy. In the A/P article, it says this:

Creative industries led by Hollywood account for about $504 billion, or at least 3.2 percent of U.S. goods and services, the government said in its first official measure of how the arts and culture affect the economy.

Drew McManus today commented today in his blog, Adaptistration, that you should naturally take care in what you read.  Consider the source and don’t compare apples to oranges. Most studies are locally based, rather than national like the one above. I agree with him – that makes total sense.

I think it’s a good indicator of things to come though and something to keep track of because it’s easy to cut funding for the arts and it’s easy to cut funding to music programs in schools, but remember folks, concerts and plays and art exhibits really do bring money into our communities are they are not to be taken lightly. These are some good economic contenders who can really help us out and are therefore deserving of our support. Think about it – you can support the arts, help boost our economy and get a tax write-off. Wins all around!

Here are some details on some local arts organizations that, in my humble opinion, I think you should all support this holiday season if you can. If all else fails, you can buy a ticket, too, but arts organizations bring a lot of money into our economy, so it’s worth making sure they stick around. You’ll get a tax write-off, of course, but you’re making sure Columbus is a well-rounded city full of entertainment and music education programs.

Columbus Symphony Orchestra 

Our symphony is incredibly good! Go buy a ticket for their next concert and then make a donation! Yes – the online donation process is beyond horrid, but they take checks. It’s super simple – just grab their address below. (Clicking the “Donate” button off the front page gets you there, too)

Columbus Symphony
55 E. State St.
Columbus, OH 43215

Then, go to your bank’s website, log in and set them up like you would for any bills you might pay, only this is not a bill. This is a great musical organization that is worthy of our support, my fellow Buckeyes! Fill out the amount you’d like to donate and send it off. There. Done.

Congratulations. You’ve just supported the longest standing musical arts organization here in Columbus. Took less than five minutes. Come on. Admit it. You feel good now, don’t you?

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra 

Wow. These guys are really good. You can mail a check to them, too, but their online donation process is ridiculously easy to use. Just click the link above and make a donation. It takes two minutes. Feel free as well to join my dad and me this Sunday at their Holiday concert. (Messiah sing-along is Friday and their Christmas concerts are Saturday at the Josephinum and Sunday at the Southern Theatre downtown. It’ll be really great!)

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra
243 North Fifth Street, Suite 202
Columbus, OH  43215

See? Another great music organization supported. I know you’re feeling good now!

Westerville Symphony Orchestra 

They don’t have an online donation system, per se, but you can go into their store and “purchase” a donation amount. It’s a little weird, but it works. Plus, like the others, you’re always welcome to go the online bill-pay route and set them up with your online banking.

Westerville Symphony at Otterbein University
167 South State Street, Suite 80
P.O. Box 478
Westerville, Ohio 43086-0478

I was pleasantly surprised the first time I heard them play last August. Wow! And it was a free concert, too! Can’t go wrong with that! And then in October with that Chopin piano concerto – WOWZA! It was seriously amazing, people. You should kick yourself if you missed it. They have a holiday concert coming up this Saturday at 8pm up at Otterbein. Tickets are only $25 and unlike ProMusica and the CSO (Sorry guys) their $25 tickets are actually $25!  No added Ticketmaster fees. Awesome!

I’d be going, too, were it not for the fact that my bonus (and my savings) have to go to a new catalytic converter. Yeah. Fun. But I’ll go in the new year – and you should, too!

It all adds up!

Anyhoo…if you set these great organizations up like you do with all your bills for online banking, you can very easily make a small (or large!) donation to them whenever you’re in there paying all your bills.  Even $5 every now and then adds up!  That’s what I donate to both the CSO and WOSU every month.

Oh my gosh – speaking of WOSU radio! Classical 101, our local classical music station in town, probably does more to advertise and market all these arts organizations than the organizations themselves – and I promise, that’s not meant to be snarky in any way. Classical 101 is just awesome!

They do so much to help promote great music in our community. Heck – its on-air personalities give pre-concert chats at so many performances (Christopher Purdy at the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Jennifer Hambrick at the Westerville Symphony Orchestra and Boyce Lancaster at the Codas at ProMusica Chamber orchestra – among others, I’m sure!) which help us all better relate to the music we’re about to hear – or have just heard. It’s so helpful – especially when you’re about to hear something new – to be able to put that music in context. It helps you both relate to the music but also better understand it so you can figure out why the 1st movement of Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto was considered so weird at the time, or why there were riots at the premier of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (great for ticket sales though!), what Mahler was like “before he was Mahler” and how the heck did they manage to get a substitute soloist for Mendelssohn’s violin concerto only two days before the first performance!

We’re so lucky to have so much great music in this town – and so much of it, too!  And to think, I didn’t even mention Early Music in Columbus (I hope to make it to Twelfth Night!), Chamber Music Columbus or wow – the Ohio State University and Otterbein University schools of music!

So tell me, which organizations are you supporting in 2013?

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