Geddes (WSYR-TV) -- It was another impressive fireworks show at the State Fairgrounds Wednesday night. Everyone got to see the colorful lights show, but beyond the sights was the sounds of Symphony Syracuse.
Just over a year ago, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra filed for bankruptcy. Dozens of the musicians came together, volunteering to organize what was supposed to be a temporary orchestra called Symphony Syracuse. But July 4th was the backdrop to their 40th performance.
Performing is a call to duty for the musicians and their guest conductor.
“We really believe in what we do with every fiber of our body, and that is why they keep pushing to make music available for everyone,” said Guest Conductor, Matthew Kraemer.
The crowd, awaiting the fireworks, embraced the tradition of a concert on July 4th, grateful to the volunteers who organized it.
“My children are here with me. They are six and eight and I want them to have the experience that I had as a child of formal classical music,” said Barry Bates, who was visiting from Jordan, NY.
A future with classical music relies on financial support. For years, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra struggled with debt and pension obligations pushed them toward bankruptcy. The musicians have volunteered to organize these shows for months, hoping to attract sponsors, willing to invest if they can start over now, debt-free.
Symphony Syracuse Chairman Jon Garland told NewsChannel 9, “Unfortunately, Symphony Syracuse is not the solution for the future of an orchestra in Syracuse. We have always said we are a lifeboat organization…Funding commitments are very important.”
A year later, they are still waiting for that funding and they’re still playing for themselves and anyone who wants to keep listening to a symphony in Syracuse.
“We want people to enjoy the arts and the only way that you can do that is to have it be there and, without it, there is just a piece of your heart missing,” said one audience member, Natalie Wilson.
The players get a small payout for each performance. They volunteer for the rest of the work. So far, no real progress has been made in organizing and funding a permanent orchestra. But, they’ll play again on July 12, on the Village Green in Hamilton.
To find out more about Symphony Syracuse and get their upcoming schedule, click here