Historic Radio-Thon Raises more thatn $625,000 for Colorado Symphony Orchestra

DENVER, CO (December 3, 2009) – The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and Colorado Public Radio (CPR) announced today that an unprecedented three-day on-air fundraising radio-thon, conducted by CPR on behalf of the CSO, raised $625,758 for the CSO.

CSO board members, musicians, chorus members, donors and staff pledged $290,000 in dollar-for-dollar challenge funds prior to the three-day event. A total of 1,933 CPR listeners donated $335,758, resulting in a total matched contribution of $625,758. The drive culminated with CPR's live broadcast of the CSO's sold-out performance with musical icon Yo-Yo Ma last night at Boettcher Concert Hall.

“We cannot thank our listeners enough. Their generosity demonstrates the importance of the CSO as one of the most significant cultural arts organizations in Colorado,” - CPR President Max Wycisk.

CSO President and CEO James W. Palermo said, “The collaborative spirit of CPR and its generous listeners builds on the wonderful work the CSO musicians, board, donors and staff are doing to take the orchestra to the next level. This is truly a community-wide effort that has generated renewed interest in the CSO and attracted a whole new group of donors.”

The rare on-air fundraising radio-thon resulted from CPR's successful petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a special waiver and exception to its normal prohibition of public radio stations interrupting regular programming to raise funds for another organization. “This one-time-only FCC waiver was based on the CSO's role as a major cultural organization and our largest classical music programming provider,” said Wycisk.

“The Colorado Symphony Orchestra is a great asset to the City of Denver and a cornerstone of our cultural community. This exciting partnership between the CSO and Colorado Public Radio is an innovative model for fundraising in this challenging economy. We applaud the sustainable changes the CSO is making to ensure the organization’s viability well into the future.” - Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper

During the three-day drive, CPR featured live performances by CSO musicians in its state-of-the-art performance studio, together with testimonials about the need to support the CSO and CPR from community and business leaders.

Palermo said that while the on-air drive was a major success and ticket sales have been robust, there is still work to be done. “The historic CPR on-air campaign provides the CSO with bridge funding that ensures ongoing financial stability for the orchestra while new audience development and fundraising initiatives take root.”

Ticket sales account for just half of the CSO's annual budget. “We must raise more than $5 million in donations annually to continue Bringing the Music to Life in the concert hall, at education programs for young people, free summertime performances in parks and events throughout the state,” Palermo said.

“The Colorado Symphony is committed to operating in a fiscally responsible manner and recently announced operating budget reductions of nearly $2.5 million,” said Palermo . “This includes the extraordinary and generous sacrifices of musicians and staff through salary and other reductions to ensure that the CSO continues performing a full and unabridged season of concerts – both in Boettcher Concert Hall and in local parks for its free summer concert series,” he said.

“The CSO is attracting the best talent from around the world, both on- and off-stage. A search committee is seeking a top-notch successor to beloved Music Director Jeffrey Kahane, who is leaving at the end of this season, and a new senior leadership team is in place, drawn from the orchestra world through a series of national searches,” said Palermo . “There is a renewed sense of excitement and momentum surrounding the CSO,” he added.

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