On Tuesday September 10, 2013, LMS Association President, Dana Taylor, appeared before the La Mirada City Council for the annual Study Session as they considered funding for 2013-2014. The Symphony requested the amount of previous years of $22,000 of in-kind funding for the rental and staffing of the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, plus a grant of $5,000 towards operating expenses. Below is the text of Ms. Taylor’s presentation.
Thank you Mr. Mayor and Honorable City Council Members for this opportunity to appear before you again on behalf of the La Mirada Symphony. My first year as the President of the La Mirada Symphony Association gave me a great appreciation for all the time and talents that must come together to continue the 50 year tradition of free classical concerts for La Mirada and surrounding communities.
Some highlights from the past season included seeing our audience grow to almost full capacity at most concerts. Our development of social media sites gave us exposure to a more diversified audience. We now have a blog, facebook page, and twitter following. Approximately 2,000 school children from the Norwalk/LaMirada school district attended special youth concerts in February. We ended the season on a high note in April with the Gala Fundraiser performance of Broadway star Susan Egan and students from the Orange County School of Arts.
This season Dr. Robert Frelly of Chapman University begins his third year as our popular music director and conductor. We’ll kick off the 2013-2014 season on October 20th with the renowned pianist Grace Fong performing George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The theme of this year’s season is Sundays with Music to accustom our audience to moving to Sunday matinees. We think this is a win-win for the theatre, the city and the symphony. It opens financial opportunities for Saturday evenings for the theatre. From the symphony’s perspective, Sunday afternoon performances increases the likelihood that students will experience the majesty of hearing a live symphony orchestra. Musical education continues to be a high priority for the symphony.
Additionally, the free concerts draw approximately 1,000 people into the theatre. Hopefully, some of these attendees will be inspired to purchase tickets for upcoming events at the theatre. Also, we will be advantageous to local restaurants both before and after the 3pm matinee show times, when people will dine and enjoy an afternoon outing.
The funding the City of La Mirada provides for the symphony is the foundation for its existence. While we have no paid staff, we do pay our musicians. The current challenge is to raise the bar of our basic support through grants and donations. We would like to be able to offer a more reasonable base stipend to cover transportation costs beyond the current amount of $50 for four rehearsals and a performance. We have recently added new symphony board members with experience in grants and fundraising and hope we can find new streams of income.
On the whole, the La Mirada Symphony is strong and healthy, with expanding leadership and dedicated musicians and volunteers. We enjoy a good working relationship with the staff of the La Mirada Theatre and look forward to a successful season. We respectfully request continued funding for our programs that enhance the quality of life in La Mirada.