West Virginia Symphony Faces Budget Gap

Classic Arts News   West Virginia Symphony Faces Budget Gap
The West Virginia Symphony ran a deficit for 2003-04 and is trying to close a budget gap of $150,000 for the current fiscal year, the Charleston Gazette reports.

Officials declined to specify the size of last season's deficit, the paper said.

Executive director Paul Helfrich attributed the shortfall to a drop in subscriptions and the higher cost of performing in Charleston's Clay Center, where the orchestra has moved from the larger Municpal Auditorium.

"We knew last year we weren't going to have a balanced budget," board president Pat Bond told the Gazette. "That was the leap of faith we took going into the Clay Center, and I think that was a very worthwhile leap of faith."

In an effort to balance its budget, the orchestra has slimmed down its string section for some performances, frozen staff salaries, eliminated one position through attrition, and canceled an opera performance in May. Meanwhile, board members are working to raise additional funds.

"The thing we want to communicate is the music will go on," Bond said. "The symphony has been around for 65 years and it'll be around for another 65 years. We'll do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn't stop."

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