Monday, November 24, 2014

Symphony acquiring 'big tent'

The Richmond Symphony has received a $500,000 challenge grant for the acquisition and operation of a mobile performance space that will enable the orchestra to stage large-scale outdoor concerts.

The new structure, which will be used for classical and pops concerts, advances the symphony’s strategic plan “to expand our footprint . . . to serve new audiences,” says David Fisk, the orchestra’s executive director. “It is a ‘big-tent’ approach to music-making in every sense.”

The grant, from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, will finance the purchase of a Warner Shelter Systems Limited SA-80 Arabesque tent, large enough to accommodate the full 70-member complement of Richmond Symphony musicians, the 150 singers of the Symphony Chorus and guest soloists. It will be one of the largest mobile concert structures in the eastern U.S.

Matching funds from the grant, which must be raised by November 2015, will finance operation of the unit for its first five years.

The symphony is exploring partnerships with local governments, other non-profit organizations and civic groups to stage concerts using the mobile stage, potentially as soon as September 2015.