By Dennis Boone
With a string quartet’s flawless rendition of Mendelssohn as punctuation, the Kansas City Symphony today made the civic case for artistic and cultural excellence in the region, announcing a final phase of its $55 million Masterpiece Endowment Campaign.
This public phase of the four-year fundraising effort seeks to secure $2 million that will leverage anonymous challenge gifts of $1.25 million and close out the largest endowment campaign in the symphony’s history. The campaign has reached 94 percent of its goal, at $51.9 million, and the final push would get it over the top.
More than 100 symphony leaders, patrons, business executives and dignitaries were on hand for the announcement this morning in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. They heard special appeals from Frank Byrne, the symphony’s executive director; Bill Lyons, who chairs the symphony board; and Michael Stern, the celebrated conductor for the past 12 years.
“We are excited to be near our campaign goal,” Byrne said, “and we now need support from our entire community to take our thriving symphony into the future. Just as every note is essential in a Beethoven symphony, every gift–regardless of size– makes a difference to our campaign. With broad community support, we will complete the campaign.”
Completion of the campaign, they said, would allow the symphony to continue attracting and retaining the best musicians, provide low-cost, even free, programs that reach more than 1 million people a year through concerts, community events, education programs and broadcasts; lay a foundation for increasing the role of music in the lives of children; and benefit the commmunity through the economic impact of increased tourism and high quality of life for residents and musicians alike by making the Kansas City symphony a career destination.
“It will enable the organization to attract and retain the highest quality musicians and continue to expand its diverse and innovative programming,” Lyons said. “The symphony is positioned at the very center of our community’s cultural fabric; these permanent resources will allow the symphony to grow responsibly while maintaining its excellence and relevance.”
In support of the role that the symphony plays in the regional quality of life, they provided metrics that showed the symphony responsible for providing nearly 70 percent of the live music at the Kauffman Center, filling 95 percent of its seating capacity each eyar, and for making a $22 million annual economic impact including $1.7 million in state and local taxes.
In addition to contributions by mail, they encouraged members of the public who wish to donate online at kcsymphonymasterpiece.org.