One of the great benefits of living in the Hudson Valley is the music that is made available by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society. Over a ten-year period, some 500,000 people have had the rewarding experience of hearing full orchestral performances of classical and modern repertoire with world renowned artists, who otherwise could not be seen and heard in live concerts so close to home.
This educational resource also reaches down to school grades in the InSchool Concerts with pre-concert teaching sessions. There also are young artists competitions, whose winners subsequently have the opportunity to play with fully professional orchestras at subscription concerts. Local soloists are afforded a chance to perform publicly with orchestra in Progress Concerts.
The total community program reaches into related cultural activities such as opera, theater, dance and art. There have been 125 subscription concerts performed in Kingston. Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, 63 regional concerts with full orchesta in valley communities, 43 Little symphony concerts, 760 InSchool Concerts and 22 Nil orchestra youth concerts. This is but a partial listing of performances that included opera, chamber music, pop concerts and special recitals.
Just as artists, composers, musicians and others throughout history have relied on patrons or sponsors for their support, so too must today's Symphony Orchestra rely on the community it serves. Not one of the over 1,500 Symphony Orchestras in the United States is self-sustaining. Throughout most of the world Symphony Orchestras deficits are handled by government subsidy. In the United States, it is the interested citizens and leaders of business and industry, aware of the cultural advantages that a fine symphony orchestra brings to a community, who are the prime means of support.
This is as true of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic as it Is of the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony and others. If the Hudson Valley Philharmonic or the others were to endeavor to raise all its funds through concert ticket sales, few people could afford to attend the concerts. The overriding consideration in establishing the price of tickets must be to set prices that will allow the greatest number of people to participate. Increasing the cost of tickets to events is not the answer to any cultural service's sustaining needs.
Activities for which the Hudson Valley Philharmonic receives little or no money include such projects as the Orchestra in Progress giving local musicians the opportunity to learn and perform in orchestra setting; In School Concerts, bringing the finest music of the world to young people and making it educational as well as entertaining and admission-free concerts.
All these endeavors require funds that must be secured by a sustaining fund drive.
Although it is true that not everyone in the community enjoys the music of a symphony orchestra, its existence in some way touches all. There is nothing like the finest music to stimulate a desire for more music. Other musical activities in the community are affected directly or indirectly by the Philharmonic, which is the Hudson Valley's greatest cultural asset. Today there is more good music being played and heard by more people than ever before in Hudson Valley communities. Everyone concerned with the cultural progress of the Hudson Valley should support the Philharmonic.