For the first time in several years, the Oregon Symphony
is reporting an increase in ticket sale revenues, "putting a halt to five consecutive years of declining ticket sales," according to a news release today from the Symphony.
"The greatest measure of an orchestra's relevance to its community is the number of people attending its performances," Symphony president Elaine Calder says in the release.
In the announcement, the Symphony reports it has passed the $5 million sales mark already in its 2007-08 season; a mark it has not achieved since the waning days of its 2003-04 season. Overall audience attendance has also increased noticeably: the Symphony's seeing an average paid audience of 1,662 attendees - up 20.5% from the average of 1,379 attendees at each concert of the 2006-07 season. In earlier interviews, Calder indicated that the Symphony had a goal of $5.5 million in ticket sales for the 2007-08 season - a goal that now looks well within reach.
The Symphony stopped short of suggesting what may have contributed to the northward sales swing, although, in a bold move this season, Calder quickly adopted Pink Martini
's bandleader—the charismatic Thomas Lauderdale, who has appeared as soloist with the orchestra—as a spokesperson and adviser to the ailing Symphony. Lauderdale has actively promoted the Symphony to Pink Martini fans, and also appeared onstage at the Schnitz in the season-opening concerts to share his enthusiasm for the orchestra. He has also, according to the Symphony, taken an active hand in shaping the Symphony's 2008-09 season, which will be announced on in early-mid February.
(photo above, courtesy Oregon Symphony)