- Associated Press - Monday, June 30, 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Despite a couple of profitable recent years, the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra is still set to close after the upcoming season, the symphony’s executive director said.

The symphony earned a profit in two of the last three seasons, Press-Gazette Media (https://gbpg.net/1x4OxyT ) reported. But executive director Dan Linssen said those small profits “were more of a fluke.”

Linssen said those profits were largely because symphony representatives were forced to approach donors in desperation, because of the orchestra’s dire financial situation.

The symphony also went through a “save the symphony” drive several years ago, and those emergency approaches take their toll, Linssen said.

“That’s how donor fatigue sets in,” he said. Some donors approached under those circumstances indicated they didn’t want to be approached anymore, Linssen said.

Linssen wouldn’t release the organization’s profit information, saying recently that management has been meeting privately with musicians to address musicians’ concerns that too little was being done to raise funds.

However, information in the symphony’s tax statements included in Internal Revenue Service records available online show the organization earned profits of $5,006 and $11,872 in 2011 and 2013 respectively. It had a $31,950 loss in 2012.

Steve Westergan, a cellist with the symphony, said he collected numbers from management earlier that showed a $30,000 loss in 2010, $60,000 loss in 2009, an $8,250 profit in 2008 and unspecified profits in the two preceding years. The orchestra lost $2,600 in 2005, according to Westergan’s findings.

Westergan and other musicians have questioned whether a nationwide recession might have caused a series of losses and suggested more aggressive fundraising, promotion and a realignment of ticket prices could put the operation back in the black.

Westergan said he and other musicians have been meeting with organizers of a “Save the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra” Facebook page to determine whether any of the nearly 2,000 supporters of that site are willing to explore fundraising options.

Linssen has said the 100-year-old symphony will close after one more season.

“The most important thing now is to work together to make sure we have a successful final season,” he said.


Information from: Press-Gazette Media, https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com

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