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Bloomington Symphony Orchestra

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Symphony Orchestras

Mission: The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra promotes a lifelong appreciation of and enthusiasm for music through its performances of classical orchestral literature, as well as outreach and educational work throughout the community.

Results: Named the city’s Official Community Orchestra by Mayor Mark Kruzan in 2009 and awarded the “Be More Collaborative” Award by the City in 2011, the 75-member orchestra is the city’s only year-round, full-time volunteer symphony orchestra. For over forty years the BSO has been part of this community, and we take our responsibility to engage, enlighten, and entertain both our members and our audiences very seriously.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 6000

Geographic areas served: South Central Indiana

Programs: Each year, the BSO performs seven public concerts, including a classical series, side-by-side concerts with local high school orchestras, a children’s concert, and a free summer concert in the park. The BSO also engages in a wide range of community outreach activities, including innovative programs like Meet the Instruments (where children can experiment with musical instruments under the guidance of orchestra members), the Children’s Instrument Recovery Program (CHIRP) which provides reconditioned used instruments to children who would otherwise not be able to participate in their school’s music programs, and a Youth Concerto Competition.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Kate27

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The first time I ever saw the BSO was from a performance on CATS. I wondered who they were...when I found out it was Bloomington's own community orchestra, I couldn't believe it. They were so much better than any community orchestra I'd ever heard. Several years ago I auditioned for the second violins. Suffice it to say, I've never looked back. I have never been so impressed with a nonprofit's musical direction, choice of repertoire, dedication, congenial spirit, contribution to the community, and level of excellence. I have seen Maestro Latshaw make music accessible to untrained listeners, volunteers give all they have and more, participated in "side-by-side" concerts with budding high school musicians, children's smiles at the "meet the instruments" program, etc. None of the eight Indiana University Orchestras, the POPS or Camerata (to my knowledge) do these things. Plus, the BSO affords those of us for whom music is an avocation the best possible orchestra opportunities in a town where there would otherwise be very few. I thank my lucky stars for the BSO!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have performed alongside the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra several times as a fill-in and was amazed each time at the level of musicianship and passion involved! Rehearsals (and concerts) have a clear structure and the musicians are focused on the end goal of delivering a great concert to the public. Their children's concert was brilliantly delivered, had an outstanding turn-out, and, best of all, gave dozens of kids the opportunity to have invaluable one-on-one learning experiences with the instruments! This is one community group that unites to perform their best and deliver enlightening, educational, and enriching concerts to members of the community.

1 Beth Gazley

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a professor of nonprofit management at the top ranked (US News) program in the country. It is also my pleasure to donate to the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and to serve as their sometime consultant on governance and strategic planning. I also helped paint their office!! In the end, this is a great volunteer-driven organization with a terrific artistic director, an energetic board and volunteer cohort, who produce amazing concerts. If you attended their Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique last month, your hair would still be standing on end. Go, BSO!!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The BSO provides unparalleled entertainment as well as educational opportunities. From the musicians and director to the board members, talent and dedication abounds at the BSO. Few other cities can boast of such a well run, talented, and positive organization.

1 victory

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been playing violin in The Bloomington Symphony for many years and have experienced its influence on the community first hand. Of special value is its exposure and hands-on experience of music to children. But audiences too get to a treat, not only by listening, but gaining fascinating backgrounds to the music they hear and in an entertaining format. For the musicians it is a wonderful chance to make music, to involve family and friends. The Bloomington Symphony is a true intergenerational community, a celebration of sharing, among one another and with the community.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Donna told my story. Word for word. I could not have said it more eloquently.

2 Jacob A.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The BSO is a premier example of the rich culture of the Arts in Bloomington, Indiana. From the orchestra's masterful performances to the educational programs for the community's youth, every city should be so lucky!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

For many years the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra has provided accessible concerts with a lovely combination of the classic and the challenging. Living in the shadow of an internationally known school of music, the BSO plays an essential role in reaching out to the non-university-affiliated and in working with high school students to help them see how to keep music in their lives. In recent years, the concerts have been especially engaging and informative. The collaborations with other arts organizations, the players' enthusiasm for their conductor, and the great music they make together have been a truly wonderful gift from the orchestra to the community.

2 Catherine17

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra provides the opportunity for both amateurs and professionals to share in the glorious art of music making. There is something for everyone at every concert, and usually some surprises along the way. A great group of people conducted by the talented and fun-loving Charles Latshaw.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra offers a rich and supportive outlet for amateur musicians to join together and share their talents, but it provides a much broader series of meaningful services for the local community. In my time with the orchestra, first as a volunteer musician and now as a board member, I've been able to take part in a series of remarkable musical musical events, from tackling monumental works in the standard classical repertoire--i.e., Mahler's first symphony--to introducing stringed instruments to children at an event designed to let kids "Meet the Instruments." Without deviating from its core mission of creating a space for musicians in the community to gather and perform, the BSO supports a series of educational and arts advocacy programs. For example, the orchestra maintains a collection of instruments that it repairs and loans to you musicians in Bloomington, it regularly collaborates with community artists and arts organizations, and it presents a free annual children's concert. Plus, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the incredibly dedicated, dynamic, and welcoming people who the make the orchestra special. The BSO is truly a gem.

1 Melinda8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bloomington Symphony Orchestra is a wonderful organization that has provided a fantasitc opportunity for personal and musical growth. This has been the first orchestra I have joined since college, and I am very proud to be a member.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra is an inclusive group that provides great music to Bloomington! The BSO has unbounded passion for music and camaraderie that brings Bloomington and Monroe County musicians of all ages and professions together.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra has been able to build a phenomenal sense of community - not only through its performances, but also through outreach programs like the Children's Instrument Recovery Program (ChIRP), side-by-side concerts with local schools, a youth concerto competition, and Meet the Instruments (where school kids get to try out the different instruments of the orchestra). Volunteers and audience members all agree that the BSO is something special in our community, and I'm very proud to say I've been a volunteer with this organization for the past 15 years. There really is something special about the BSO.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The BSO is a wonderful organization. It's dedicated to bring music to the world, and it is a huge benefit to the whole community. It's a place for people to play music with one another, and a way for those who don't play instruments to learn about music. I am very proud to be associated with the BSO.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful music, wonderful people, wonderful experience for all who get to hear Bloomington Symphony play the programs they perform for Bloomington, Monroe County and surrounding areas. Small groups from the Symphony also bring performances to retirement communities for those who can't attend the entire Symphony performances. The small groups bring a special treat to all who get to hear them play. They are all very special people and performers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bloomington Symphony is an unique, and extraordinary musical group. Our conductor leads and rehearses us in a way which brings us to a higher level than we have ever played. Because he believes we can and cheerfully challenges us, we accomplish an incredible concert every single time. The results are remarkable because most of us play well, but very few of us can claim professional status. Our results are the most professional of any community orchestra I've ever seen. We play for the joy of performing such wonderful pieces. We also often have students from different parts of the world. I have shared a stand with Russian, Chinese and German cellists and it has always enriched me. It is a fabulous group with which to perform.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love playing in the Bloomington Symphony. It is a great group of people that make everybody feel welcome. Everybody gives their best and it results in some great music. I really enjoy that in the concerts the background given about the pieces is for everybody and not just classical music snobs.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

There are many great things you can say about the BSO: its broad repertoire, its high level of technical skill, and its professionalism in performance, to name a few. However, my favorite part of the orchestra is its heart. From the energy of the performances to their community outreach, the BSO brings a level of passion and personality that demonstrates that these musicians consider the group to be much more than a simple organization. I highly recommend that the community continued to attend its fantastic concerts, and that any interested musicians join! Ever since I moved away from Bloomington I have missed the BSO dearly.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It was my pleasure to have served the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra as first a Stage Manager and then as General Manager. In these capacities I witnessed firsthand the dedication of each of the volunteer musicians and board members. Not only do these musicians provide exquisite music for the residents of Bloomington at affordable concerts, they provide a free concert in the park for every citizen that chooses to experience a live symphony that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to enjoy. These concerts have been so successful that after a year experimentation of moving it to a more intimate location the city’s parks department chose to move it back to a larger location to accommodate all of the people that bring their whole families to enjoy the music in the park.
Additionally, this volunteer organization receives donated instruments, rehabilitates them and provides them to children along with lessons given for free by dedicated musicians. These children would have little to no ability to rent instruments or pay for lessons in their communities.
Furthering this mission the BSO, as it is fondly referred to, conducts “side by side” concerts in which children from the local schools play side by side with the orchestra members, providing them with an experience that they may never forget and inspires them. Not least the BSO provides a small prize to a local child who shows talent and dedication with their instrument of choice. Perhaps most notably a very young Joshua Bell was awarded this prize many years ago.
I reiterate that this is a volunteer orchestra, with musicians that are professional as well as those who have other careers yet play at a professional level. It is, in my opinion, a shining example of volunteerism in the arts community.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Having served both as a player and a member of the Board of Directors, I have been privileged to participate in different capacities with this outstanding community orchestra. Composed of professionals and accomplished amateur players, the BSO has consistently performed at a high level since I first joined the group in the late 1980s. Most recently, under the guidance of Charles Latshaw, this remarkable group has expanded its repertoire and provided thoroughly enjoyable concerts. Bloomington is fortunate to have such a dedicated and gifted group of people who enjoy sharing their talents with the community.

1 Ron_9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The BSO is an amazing group of hard-working musicians with an inspiring, motivating conductor who pushes the group to be more, musically speaking. Many people work diligently behind the scenes to allow the group to do what it does and to promote their efforts in the community.