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Beloit Janesville Symphony canceling concerts

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Catherine W. Idzerda
March 28, 2009
— No Verdi and no “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The Beloit Janesville Symphony announced Friday it has canceled its April concerts and July Fourth shows.


In letters sent this week to season ticket holders, musicians and chorus members, BJS board President Susan Behrens announced that the season’s final concerts had been canceled.


The performances, scheduled for April 25 and 26, would have featured Verdi’s “Requiem.”


The “Requiem” is a major undertaking and expensive to put on, said Roddie Beaudoin, symphony executive director.


The show would have featured singers from the UW-Parkside chorus and the Beloit College Masterworks Chorus, four soloists and the full orchestra.


Like other arts organizations, the symphony is struggling in the economic downturn. Earlier this year, New Court Theatre of Beloit and the Madison Repertory Theatre announced they were shutting their doors.


The BJS isn’t in danger of closing, but it needs to retrench to be ready for the 2009-2010 season.


“With the stock market the way it is, our endowment was seriously impacted this year,” Beaudoin said.


In addition, business sponsorships have dropped off.


“Orchestras are not funded by ticket sales,” Beaudoin said. “I don’t think people understand what it costs.”


In her letter, Behrens said the board decided to cancel the final show only after “serious review of all the options available to us.”


“Given the months of preparation that have already gone into this concert, this was a very difficult decision,” Behrens said. “It is part of a package of decisions relating to personnel, future programming, development, and marketing strategy designed to keep the orchestra solvent and set it on a firm foundation for the future.”


Similar issues surround the cancellation of the summer holiday concerts. It costs about $20,000 to put on the two free shows—one in Janesville and one in Beloit. In Janesville, a variety of businesses, including The Janesville Gazette, have sponsored the show.


In Beloit, the Stateline Community Foundation and businesses sponsored the holiday show. The Stateline Community Foundation was hard hit by the stock market plunge, as well.


The symphony is already preparing for the fall 2009-2010 season and is on “solid ground,” Beaudoin said.


Season ticket holders can get a $15 credit toward next season. Individual ticket holders can use their tickets at any one of next year’s concerts.



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