Dec 03, 2012 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
The Holiday Symphonic Spectacular set for Dec. 14 in Syracuse will be much more than a holiday pops concert, said Musical Associates of Central New York board member Jon Garland.
The 7:30 p.m. concert at the Oncenter’s Crouse-Hinds Theater will serve as the world premiere for Syracuse’s newly branded symphonic orchestra, the name of which will be revealed that night, and will feature a glimpse into the group’s future.
Syracuse native Sean O’Loughlin will fly in from California to conduct a piece he wrote for the orchestra that bears the new group’s name. Garland said the Syracuse University graduate “has made a great career as a conductor and composer and [has arranged music] for Sarah McLaughlin and the Indigo Girls,” to name a few.
“He’s thrilled to be returning to Syracuse to be part of our opening night,” said Garland, a musician and former chair of the Syracuse Symphony.
The concert will also feature guest vocalist Amanda Brasher— a two-time soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra — the Syracuse Pops Chorus, Empire State Dance, and staging and multimedia production designed to enhance the symphonic experience.
Garland announced the concert’s details Wednesday, Nov. 28, at a press conference at the Civic Center attended by local officials, musicians, orchestra supporters and others.
The new symphony has been put together by Musical Associates of Central New York following the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra’s bankruptcy in May 2011. More than 50 musicians from the SSO have returned to the group, Garland said. It’s a number he’s excited about, he said, but it will not be enough for some performances.
“So in the near term, what we’re doing is having to supplement the size of the orchestra with other musicians from other regional orchestras,” he said.
Garland announced that some seats for 2013 winter and spring performances will be set aside for those who held tickets when the SSO’s season was cut short in 2011. The details of that program will be announced along with information about the upcoming season at the Dec. 14 holiday concert.
“We will be creating a database from the list of ticket buyers that was published in the bankruptcy records of the SSO,” he said. “If your name is on that list, you will be eligible to receive free tickets for a future concert.”
The symphony will run on a unique business model that Onondaga County Legislature Chair Ryan McMahon called a “co-op.” The Onondaga County 2013 budget includes $300,000 for the new orchestra; in October, the legislature voted to give the group $120,000 in 2012.
“The reason why we did that and why we’re so confident in doing that is that the new business model makes sense,” McMahon said. “We’re all shareholders, we’re all stakeholders.”
The musicians will only get paid when the money is available, he said.
“The musicians have a lot of skin in the game at this point,” he said. “They’ve done [about 10 performances already], and they haven’t been paid a lot of money yet.”
But the money is coming, he said, from both Musical Associates of CNY and the county.
“I just want to implore this community at large to support this organization,” he said.
The business plan was formed with help from Bob Papke, vice president of live entertainment for SMG — a company that manages more about 230 venues worldwide and has been running the Oncenter for the past few months. Papke called the press conference a celebration.
“That’s really what this is as we commemorate the rebirth of orchestral music in Syracuse,” he said.
He said there are orchestras all over the country that are struggling to garner public and private financial support. But in Syracuse, he said, the glass is half full.
“If you can get everybody pulling in the same direction, you’re going to have a much greater chance of being successful,” he said. “And that’s really the excitement about this project.”
He called the business plan “cutting edge.”
“This is something that has the industry’s attention, it is something that’s a new model, and it’s something that makes a lot of sense.”
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner thanked the leadership in Onondaga County, the non-profit sector and the private sector for their diligence in reviving the city’s cultural gem. She said when the symphony ceased operations in the spring of 2011, it left a hole in the cultural and economic tapestry of the community.
“I’m here to thank you all for your hard work, to tell you as a member of this community how important it is to have a symphony here, and as mayor of the city how important it is to have this cultural attraction so that we can continue to maintain our leadership in cultural affairs,” she said.
Tickets for the Dec. 14 Holiday Symphonic Spectacular range from $21 to $47 for adults and are $10 for children. Purchase them online at oncenter.org; at the Oncenter box office, 515 Montgomery St., Syracuse; or by phone at 435-2121.
Ned Campbell is editor of the Eagle Bulletin. Reach him at email@example.com.