The Firelands Symphony Orchestra (FSO)has been awarded a CARES Act grant award of $79,400 through the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) and the State of Ohio. The $20 million infusion of funding to offset reopening costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as provide some economic relief for past expenses incurred since it began, is the largest ever expended by the OAC, and will aid nearly 300 grantees of all sizes and all genres, all across Ohio.
Awards were determined through a tiered, need-based formula that considered each eligible applicant’s budget and reported expenses qualifying under the CARES Act.
Due to mass gathering restrictions since March, the Symphony has cancelled all of its full orchestra concerts and its major fundraising gala resulting in an estimated loss of 35% of income via ticket and fundraising revenue. However, with the support of local grants, the FSO implemented free, small ensemble concerts at outdoor venues this past fall, as well as its Tunes for Tuesday Tour to area senior living facilities.
For this winter, Symphony personnel will offer virtual interactive programs through FSO’s Virtual Winter Blues Busters, which will include Zoom sessions with Maestro Carl Topilow and Chorale Director Michael Shirtz, along with brief video clips from Miss Jody’s Music Minutes. In addition, the FSO is currently preparing a “Flip Season” which will replace its typical fall and winter concert schedule with free, full orchestra concerts at outdoor venues this coming spring and summer. Once details are confirmed, a full schedule of these programs will be released.