The symphony's best-case scenario, according to Ed Wulfe, president of the Houston Symphony Society, would be balanced budgets for 2004-05 and the following season. This would mean that the orchestra had reached a balanced budget a full year ahead of the goal set by a five-year financial plan, announced last summer, aimed at getting the organization out of debt and creating financial stability.
The worst-case scenario would be a deficit of about $600,000. The orchestra is still waiting for some last-minute donations.
The orchestra is dealing with an accumulated debt of over $3 million that began in 2001 with damage from Tropical Storm Allison and the economic downturn after September 11.
In order to sell more tickets and attract new concertgoers, the orchestra has made changes to its programs and schedules, such as moving its Monday concerts to alternating Thursdays and Fridays.
In its ongoing $75 million capital campaign, the orchestra has raised $10 million to put toward its deficit and toward operations. The Brown Foundation has offered a $10 million challenge grant that requires the orchestra to raise $20 million.