Monterey, CA, August 07, 2018 — After a few challenging years, The Monterey Symphony has been able to right the ship and is looking to 2018/19 as a season of financial stability and growth. The most recent annual report just released reveals one of the Symphony’s most successful seasons.
The Symphony’s concerts were within two dozen tickets of selling out each; its Music for the Schools programs was so successful a fourth county will be added to the roster; and it met and exceeded its foundation granting goals in December 2017, halfway through the last season, which ended June 30.
“We’re doing well, everything’s up, and 2018/19 is going to be a spectacular year for the Symphony,” says Nicola Samra, Symphony executive director. When Samra was named the new executive director in July 2017, she was able to hit the ground running. She was already a member of the Symphony staff as director of Institutional Advancement with several months under her belt, she had experience as director of development for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at CSU Monterey Bay, and for almost four years as director of development and marketing for the Carmel Bach Festival.
As the Symphony’s director of Institutional Advancement she had already developed a three-year plan for the Symphony and her experience in development gave her the confidence to approach the various foundations and rebuild their relationships with the Symphony.
“I met with every program director from every foundation, if I couldn’t meet with them in person, we spoke on the phone. I also read proposals and reports from the last five years,” says Samra. “I took it as a vote of confidence from the community that what we do here is important, that what we do is important and impactful.”
Concert ticket sales only account for 18% of the Symphony’s annual budget, with grants from foundations and donations from individuals and other sources accounting for 80%. The 2018/19 budget is $1.74 million, smaller than the 2017 budget, but one that allows the Symphony to “live within its means,” says Samra.
The Symphony was able to save $250,000 by consolidating its concert venues and focusing on the two concerts Saturdays and Sundays at the Sunset Center in Carmel (along with a free concert on Monday for student groups).
In fact, with new funding, the Symphony will add two youth concerts in Salinas in May of 2019 and hopes to add additional transportation for some of the school districts that don’t have funding for buses to the concerts.
“We are now on the path to financial sustainability, we’re grateful to the community for its support, we’re excited by the increased attendance at our concerts and we’re looking to the future to see how we can continue to serve our patrons,” says Samra.
Marci Bracco Cain
Salinas, CA 93901