Text by Joshua Banda | Photo: Banda Bros. Photography

The Sequoia Symphony Orchestra is making a number of significant changes during its 60th season. From engaging with the community through such efforts as Music Medicine and Jazz on the Corner to $1 Legacy Tickets, this season is all about providing the community with more access to the symphony. After all, equitable access is important to us.

Performing arts institutions such as the symphony struggle with a perception issue. Oftentimes, there’s a perception that the symphony is meant only for people of affluence. There’s a perception that if one doesn’t know the “rules,” one just won’t fit in. Or there’s a perception that tickets will cost $100-plus because it just sounds like something a little “too fancy,” so people make a decision to avoid the symphony altogether.

And that’s too bad.

We struggle to find out exactly why having a professional symphony is beneficial for our community. We forget how vital music is to our health and wellness and, oftentimes, allow such barriers as cost to keep us from experiencing something truly exceptional.

But what if there were no barrier? What if we removed the cost and provided unlimited access to our community? What would happen then?

Our dream is to be able to raise enough money each season so we don’t have to rely on individual ticket sales. Those who are able to subscribe or donate would continue to do so but, rather than have their donation or purchase seen as a way to ensure that they have the same seats at every concert, they would be involved with providing the ultimate access for anyone else who might not be able to subscribe or attend because of cost.

For our current season, we need to raise $250,000 to finish off our fiscal year in April 2020, about $60,000 of that coming from ticket sales. If we complete the year like we always have, we’ll see that income through our year-end campaign, donations, sponsorships and ticket sales.

To achieve our dream of providing ultimate access, however, we would simply need to raise what we would have seen through individual ticket sales sooner, rather than later, to allow us to provide access for the entire season. At face value, that certainly seems like a big number, but not when you break it down as a collective effort.

After all, to provide that sort of access for the rest of the season, we just need 1,000 individuals to donate $60 each. It also breaks down to just 60 individuals donating $1,000 or, better yet, 12 very generous individuals from outside our current network to donate $5,000. If we can get enough generous individuals to collectively support this particular campaign, imagine the sort of good they would provide our community, effectively reaching thousands of individuals.

If we can remove barriers like cost and provide a free service to our entire community, not only would we be champions of equitable access and inclusion, we could show everyone first-hand exactly how transformative live symphonic music can be by allowing them to experience it at no cost.

But, for now, this is only a dream.

If you’d like to help make this dream a reality, feel free to reach out to the executive director to figure out how you can partner with the  symphony and bring ultimate access to our community. In the meantime, consider attending a concert, invite your friends and family, follow us on social media or listen to our podcast, Backstage Pass with the Sequoia Symphony.

Support the symphony. Support the community.