Now imagine this same community with a vibrant orchestra that has a beautiful concert hall, performs over 20 concerts a year with a varied and cutting edge repertoire that engages and challenges its audience.
In conjunction with this orchestra is a symphony chorus with over 100 members, a dynamic chamber chorus that connects with the broader community; a youth orchestra and chorus program that serves over 400 students, makes our schools better, connects with teachers, and is the largest program of its kind in the southeast; a jazz program that performs sold out concerts at The Strand Theater and is made up of the top freelance musicians in the region; and a private lesson program that provides opportunities for anyone that wants to expand their musical horizons.
We will receive a Creating Community Award on March 18th for our collaboration with Zion Baptist Church to make our community a more united and stronger place. In total, close to 1,000 people make music with our organization and thousands more attend our performances each year.
Which community would you like to live in? The first scenario was Cobb County six years ago. The second is where we are today. These things have been achieved at no cost to the community. In fact, close to 90 percent of our income is earned. I challenge you to find many nonprofits that run that efficiently. However, it is now time for the community to help sustain these programs. In this economy, we are in danger of not being able to sustain what has been built.
Frankly, we have been far too humble. So humble, that we have done a very poor job of showing the community at large what has been built. This is not a small fault and one that I must take a large part of the blame. I insist constantly that we do what we do for the love of our art and for what it does to make the community a better place. We have been so focused on this that we do not take enough time to “toot our own horn” and ask the community to buy in to this tremendous resource that has been placed at its doorstep. According to the League of American Orchestras we have programs equivalent to orchestras with a budget about six times our size. This is something the community should know about and support financially. We have built this without asking for any community resources, we have only provided resources for the community.
Please help to make our community a better place. Visit our website at cobbsymphony.org to see what we do and we hope you will be inspired to support us. Check out one of our events and see why the most common comment we get is, “I had no idea that we had something like this right here in Cobb County.” Come to The Strand Theater on April 2 at 8 p.m. to see and hear a big band like you have never heard before or our powerful concerts at Zion Baptist Church on March 26. You can also check the Cobb Symphony out on our final performances of the year on May 7-8 with Mozart’s powerful Requiem and Beethoven’s incredible Seventh Symphony. No matter what your tastes, expand your musical horizons, see what people are talking about, and see why we have an amazing rate of return for people who come to one of our events.
We are proud to be a part of our community and to continue to make Cobb a great place to live, work, and play. Thank you for your support.
Mike Alexander is music director for the Cobb Symphony and Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestras.