Syracuse Symphony Orchestra meets fundraising goal

Updated Saturday at 2:15 pm:

The music will keep playing...for now.

The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra announced today it has met its February fundraising goal, receiving $473,787 through February 4th. More than 1,300 people donated to the SSO over a ten day span, exceeding its $375,000 goal by almost $100,000. The SSO still needs to raise an additional $445,000 by March to sustain operations. However, the extra money raised this past month will go toward that total.

"To see people come forward like this has been really wonderful," said musician Jon Garland.

"(It's) so gratifying -- to see this level of community support to see a community that believes in itself and believes the symphony is an important part of the community," said Rocco Mangano, President of the SSO Board of Trustees.

The SSO has been in dire need of money to pay its bills, and just finished up a massive 10-day campaign to raise funds.

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Updated Friday at 10:35pm:

It looks like there is good news for the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.

The SSO put out an emergency call for funding last week. Saturday, the symphony is planning a "celebration of the accomplishment of our first campaign and the launch of the next fundraising date."

The symphony set a goal of raising $375,000 by Friday night in order to get $100,000 from Onondaga County. The SSO has not revealed exactly how much it raised.

The festive sounds of spring from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" filled the air in the Civic Center on Friday night but many in the crowd were reminded of what a harsh winter it has been for the Syracuse Symphony. In the past few weeks the symphony has announced it is in dire straights, needs emergency financial assistance and could cancel part of the season unless more cash comes in.

"One organization isn't more important than another but I think the symphony has the widest reach," said fundraiser Vicki Feldman.

"It's a great night out, it's a great symphony and it's a great facility, it's really a nice time a nice event," said Tom Schwartz.

Almost every seat was filled for Friday night's performance. Some people said the news had inspired them to support the symphony but 13 year old Erin Fitzgerald said she just wanted people to know how entertaining it can be.

"Well, I think kids my age would really love to see this stuff and how professional it is and if they can't see that then they can't see what they could be going into if they want to perform," said Fitzgerald before the show started.

In a statement, the Syracuse Symphony said "they have a long road ahead to raise $1.75 million by August 1st." It was also clear on Friday night that they've also found a lot of new friends who want to make it happen.

"I think they'll pull it off and I hope more corporate support comes in the years to come as the economy gets stronger," said Brandon Morse. "I think they'll be here for another 50 years."

In a statement tonight the Syracuse Symphony said it accomplished its goal of raising $375,000 in its first phase. That's enough to trigger $100-thousand dollars from Onondaga County. The Symphony has set March 4th as a goal to raise another $445,000 so they can get another $100,000 from the county.

Posted earlier:

The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra has been entertaining Central New York audiences for fifty years, but if the orchestra fails to come up with some much needed funds soon they could be forced to shut down.

The SSO needs to raise $375,000 by today, or it will be forced to end its season four months early. The SSO must also raise an additional $445,000 by March 4th and a total of $1.75 million by August 1st to complete its current season.

County lawmakers voted last month to release $200,000 in emergency funds to the orchestra, but there is a catch. The SSO needs to raise close to $800,000 in private donations in order to qualify for the money.

The SSO has struggled with budget deficits and declining government and corporate support for the last three years. It has started a public fundraising campaign, "Keep the Music Playing," to help spread public awareness about the need for donations.

The SSO has scheduled a press conference for Saturday to announce details of their fundraising efforts.