Steamboat Springs Orchestra begins $100K campaign

Fundraising drive to help nonprofit pay for concert, artist costs

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Steamboat Springs Orchestra

Ernest Richardson joins the Steamboat Today morning show to discuss their 2009 capitol campaign.  Watch the interview for all the details on this great cause.

Ernest Richardson joins the Steamboat Today morning show to discuss their 2009 capitol campaign. Watch the interview for all the details on this great cause.

If you go

What: Steamboat String Quartet and guests, chamber music concert and dinner for the Steamboat Springs Orchestra

When: 6 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. dinner Thursday

Where: Harwigs, 911 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: $150 ticket includes chamber music concert, four-course dinner and wine pairings; the concert is a benefit for the Steamboat Springs Orchestra

Call: 870-3223 for tickets, or go to www.steamboatorch...>

— A chamber music concert and dinner Thursday will be the start of a $100,000 capital campaign for the Steamboat Springs Orchestra.

The orchestra, a nonprofit organization and professional ensemble of mostly local musicians, hopes to reach its goal with individual donations, said Lou Mathews, director of development, special events and marketing for the orchestra.

The money would help pay for guest appearances from nationally recognized artists such as Sara and Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio, who are scheduled for the 2009-10 season, Mathews said. It also would help cover the difference between concert costs and concert ticket proceeds, she said.

"The tickets are only $20 per person per concert, and the cost is actually a lot higher. : In order to continue with these high-quality performances, we need to get donations to pay for the performances," Mathews said. The orchestra lowered the price of some tickets this season, she said.

Orchestra musicians played without a paycheck to close the ensemble's 2008-09 concert season. Since then, the organization has done some "belt-tightening," consolidating work to fewer paid positions and more volunteers, orchestra board president Bonnie McGee said in September.

An average SSO concert costs $20,000 to $25,000 to produce, McGee said in September.

Adult tickets for those concerts are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

A dinner concert and fundraiser at 6 p.m. Thursday at Harwigs starts the campaign. The capital campaign drive goes through the orchestra's second holiday concert, scheduled for Dec. 6.

Thursday's concert features violinists Teresa Steffen Greenlee and Bonnie Murray, violist Mary Anne Fairlie, and cellist John Sant'Ambrogio, of the Steamboat String Quartet. Steamboat Springs Orchestra Music Director Ernest Richardson will sit in on viola for a few pieces, with youth violinist Willy Gunn and orchestra clarinetist Gary Foss making appearances.

The program includes chamber music selections by composers such as W.A. Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber, Duke Ellington, Pietro Mascagni and Johannes Brahms. Many of the selections are "just masterpieces," quartet member John Sant'Ambrogio said.

Admission to the concert is limited to 50 people, Mathews said. There were tickets available as of Tuesday afternoon, she said.

Those tickets are $150 and can be purchased by calling the Steamboat Springs Orchestra office at 870-3223 or by visiting the orchestra Web site at www.steamboatorchestra.org.

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