After seven tumultuous months, things are looking up for symphonic music fans in Colorado Springs as the new Colorado Springs Philharmonic -- formed from the ashes of the defunct Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra -- begins an exciting first season.
Speaking on behalf of himself and the entire Philharmonic, music director Lawrence Leighton Smith said they're thrilled to be back.
"It's truly miraculous that we're giving these concerts," he said. "I know at least 10 symphony orchestras that have gone under this year, and we're the only one to come back so far."
But even with all the fund-raising successes of the past half-year, the Philharmonic is still actively seeking donations and trying to sell season tickets. The group has been awarded a conditional grant by four philanthropic groups--the El Pomar, Vradenburg, Edmondson and Pikes Peak Community foundations -- that requires them to: a) raise $650,000 in donations or pledges, b) sell $250,000 in season tickets, and c) sell out two shows before Oct. 31. If they achieve all three of these goals, the Philharmonic will then receive a $325,000 matching grant.
"It's a gigantic goal, but if people rally the way they've started to rally now, we're going to make it. But the pressure is really on and everybody's got to make it happen," said director Susan Greene. "Raising money for the arts in Colorado Springs in a down economy is never easy."
The season opener will be Beethoven's masterpiece, Symphony No. 9.
Widely considered one of the great works of Western music, Symphony No. 9 and its final movement, "Ode to Joy," gives testimony to the human capacity for peace and happiness.
"The 'Ode to Joy' expresses the wonderful philosophy that all men are brothers," said Leighton Smith.
For the fledgling Philharmonic, whose solidarity kept them together during the difficult period after the collapse of the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra, there couldn't be a better way to begin the new season.
The orchestra will accompany local soloists Cynthia Kirkman, soprano; Shannon Magee, mezzo-soprano; Daniel Fosha, tenor; and Peter Tuff, baritone; and Susan Grace, piano.
"We selected singers who we thought were exceptional and also who could come without incurring high travel expenses, Greene said. "Besides, we've got wonderful local talent and we should showcase it."
The Colorado Springs Chorale, directed by Don Jenkins will also perform.
-- Bettina Swigger
capsule Colorado Springs Philharmonic
Ode to Joy Gala Season Opener
Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.
Sat., Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. Sun., Oct. 19 at 2:30 p.m.
To make a donation call 226-9130, or send a check payable to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic at P.O. Box 60730, Colorado Springs, CO 80960.