POTSDAM—The Orchestra of Northern New York has met a challenge posed by the Northern New York Community Foundation to win a $5,000 grant.
ONNY had to increase its attendance at its Watertown Concert Series in 2015-2016 by 30% to earn the award. In fact, attendance at the first four concerts has grown by 62%.
Last fall, the Northern New York Community Foundation awarded ONNY $10,000 toward the 2015-2016 five-concert series, which includes the free Summer Pops concert to be held in Thompson Park on July 1. That's when the additional $5,000 challenge was issued.
“We continue to enjoy our partnership with ONNY and the important work they do. We have been glad to invest in enhancements to the quality of life in the region through our grants to ONNY, and we applaud them for their efforts to build both current and long-term sustainability, including an endowment fund at the Foundation,” said Rande S. Richardson, Community Foundation executive director.
ONNY executive director, Kathryn M. Del Guidice, said the Orchestra was pleased with the response from the Watertown community. "We are working hard to build an audience in the greater Watertown area, so the results this year are really exciting."
To help position itself for success with the challenge, ONNY initiated a Watertown Advisory Council last year to provide feedback to the board of directors about Watertown and surrounding communities, and the orchestra's programming and promotional efforts. The group met twice and offered valuable insight into marketing opportunities.
Current Watertown Advisory Council members include: T. Urling and Mabel Walker, Michael Miller, Richard Lake, Agnes McCarthy, Emily Sprague, Totter Crossley, and Don Alexander.
"We especially thank our Advisory Council members for their guidance and support that led to this increase in attendance and made the NNYCF grant possible," Del Guidice added. "They helped us understand that there is a perception in the Watertown area that the Orchestra is a community group, not the professional symphony orchestra that it is. That information led us to shift our marketing messages to emphasis the professional musicians who compose the orchestra, such as Paul Wyse who was the featured soloist at the spring concert held recently."
The Orchestra is currently in its planning stages for the 2016-2017 Season which would again include a five-concert series in Watertown if funding is secured. An application to the NNYCF for $20,000 in support has been submitted.
"NNYCF's support is essential to producing the Watertown Series. As we see more members of the military and more children attending the concerts there, we are confident that audiences will continue to grow in the future," Del Guidice noted.
For more information about ONNY, visit www.onny.org or call 315-267-3251.