How you can help
One of the oldest fully-professional orchestras in the State of Connecticut, founded in 1946 as a 501 (C) 3 Not-for-Profit Corporation, our mission is:
- to celebrate, educate, inspire, and provide excellence in musical programming in the Greater Bridgeport community and:
- to be a premier musical organization which is artistically respected and financially secure, through the development of creative programming, larger and more diverse audiences, and broadened funding bases.
We rely on your generosity because ticket sales cover only 28% of the GBS total operating budget. By bridging the gap between expenses and ticket revenues, the Annual Fund provides the critical support for all orchestra activities. To make a donation, please click on the button below. You may also mail in or call in a donation. Contributions are fully tax-deductible.
To mail in a donation, please send a check to Greater Bridgeport Symphony, 446 University Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06604 or call (203) 576-0263.
why we need your support
With the exception of a recently-awarded Arts in Place grant, GBS currently receives no municipal, state, or federal funding. We depend on people like you to help us maintain quality programming and educational outreach.
The chart below shows the sources of our funding. Most people are surprised to learn that ticket sales do not pay for the concerts. With regard to ticket income covering costs, GBS runs at or ahead of industry standards. Yet even with a full house, ticket sales cover less than 40% of the cost of the concert. Most of our income is derived from donations from private individuals and local businesses. Concert sponsorship can cover up to 20% of the cost of the concert.
The chart above shows where money is spent presenting a concert. GBS concerts cost between $50,000 and $70,000 to produce, depending on program content, soloist fees, and other factors.
The bulk of the monies, naturally, go straight into music expenses: top-flight professional musicians, our conductor, the music staff (including concertmaster, personnel manager, librarian and stage manager), and associated expenses and licensing fees.
GBS also pays to lease The Klein, and pay their staff for production expenses and maintenance.
Advertising and overhead account for only about 15% of all expenses. This includes salary for an Executive Director, office rent and upkeep, ticketing, equipment and supplies. Advertising, of course, is essential.
GBS IS ABOUT MORE THAN CONCERTS
Currently GBS presents five subscription concerts per season, but this is only the most visible sign of our presence in the Greater Bridgeport community. An essential part of our mission is EDUCATION. Music has the power to teach -- not just children, but everyone. GBS takes this responsibility very seriously. Among our current educational activities are:
The Young Instrumentalists' Competition2017: Brass, Wind and Percussion. On March 25 and 26, GBS (with the generous support of the Hersher Family Foundation) will again host the Young Instrumentalists' Competition at the Littlefield Recital Hall at the University of Bridgeport. In 2016, 15 students from all over southern Connecticut participated in the Strings Competition, sponsored by the Hersher Family Foundation. Six exceptional student musicians between the ages of 14 and 18 made the final cut, and displayed their talents in a free concert at the University of Bridgeport's Littlefield Recital Hall on April 3. Cash prizes were awarded, and the winner, Julian Shively of Trumbull, auditioned for Maestro Jacobsen, and performed a cello solo in GBS' December 2016 concert.
School visits. GBS visits area schools, with a particular focus on underserved areas, or schools with fledgling music programs. Thus far this season, GBS has visited High Horizons Magnet School, Roosevelt School, and Read Middle School (all in Bridgeport). In 2016, GBS visited Bridge Academy and Central High School, High Horizons School, Multi-Cultural Magnet School, Roosevelt School, Read School, Bryant School, Park City Magnet School, and Marin School in Bridgeport, and Notre Dame High School in Fairfield. Eric Jacobsen, Concertmaster Debbie Wong and other GBS musicians performed for the students, and engaged them in conversation about the relevancy of symphonic music in their lives.
School Programs. Through a generous grant from the Fred DeLuca Foundation, GBS provided several weeks instruction in percussion at Black Rock School in Bridgeport, culminating in a student concert on November 22, 2016,
Bringing in Young People. GBS regularly offers free or reduced-price concert tickets to students from elementary school through college. In 2014, GBS partnered with the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras (GBYO) and The Klein Memorial Auditorium Foundation to present "Amahl and Peter: A Family Affair," a grand family-friendly concert which introduced the "young and the young at heart" to symphonic music. On December 17, GBS performed with GBYO, and on March 18 will host the Fairfield County Children's Choir at The Klein -- a great opportunity for young musicians to experience professional work first-hand.
Partnering with Youth. Maestro Jacobsen conducted a rehearsal of The Magic Flute with GBYO, and brought four exceptional GBYO musicians to perform with him on CT Style (WTNH TV) in April 2016. Students from the Music for Youth program perform before GBS concerts. GBS recently presented the Silvio Risi Awards for Outstanding Student Musicians to high school seniors from the region.