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The history of the Westfield Symphony Orchestra represents a quest for professional excellence, and a commitment to bring world-class music to audiences in Westfield, throughout Union County and beyond.  The remarkable artistic quality of our orchestra is routinely compared favorably to the quality of New York’s finest professional fare.  This is a tremendous accomplishment for a community the size of Westfield.

Our five subscription concert series continues to bring both the best of the classical orchestral repertoire, as well as exciting new commissions from contemporary composers from New Jersey, and from around the world. Collaborations with other performing arts organizations continue to flourish, and bring diverse audiences to our concerts.  In recent years, our “Music Caravan” program has brought live classical music into inner city schools, delighting, educating and stimulating children.  Our orchestra also provides a New Year’s Eve concert, an annual sell out featuring the extraordinary musical talent of Broadway stage stars. 

These achievements have been accomplished by a synergy of enthusiastic community support, responsible business practices, a devoted Board of Trustees, the world-class talent of our Music Director and hard-working staff.   Unlike many national performing arts organizations, the WSO is now virtually debt free and has achieved several consecutive years of a balanced budget.  This combination of artistic and business success demonstrates the soundness, integrity and viability of the organization.

Yet our work is far from done.  No organization can afford to stand still, and we are determined to capture our success and capitalize on them.  In order to permanently secure this cultural achievement, to ensure its future for Westfield and our extended community, we must again take bold steps to enhance our financial base.

As an essential first step toward this goal of programmatic and fiscal security with room for growth, we must increase the size of our endowment fund from $178,000 to at least $500,000 by the 2011-12 season. Our current yearly budget hovers at three-quarters of a million dollars.  Ticket sales earns almost $100,000, individual and corporate giving, along with sponsorships and grants provide us with $400,000, and our special events efforts yield $165,000.  These are three legs of our four-legged financial support base.  This fourth leg must be income that is generated from our Endowment Fund.    National industry standards for a fiscally sound orchestra such as ours require an Endowment Fund at least four times annual budget. 

We are not able to gain this financial stability by dramatically raising the cost of tickets.  The price elasticity to do that does not exist, and more importantly, we are determined to keep prices affordable in order to make our programs available to as many people as possible.  Yearly grants and sponsorships have topped out and cannot realistically be anticipated to increase.  This leaves income from a growing Endowment Fund as our best and only option. A solid Endowment Fund will serve as a lasting cultural legacy to Westfield and to New Jersey, to ensure that the orchestra we enjoy today will be here to benefit future generations of audience members.