Vancouver orchestra to put $30,000 grant to work

By Stefanie Donahue, Columbian staff writer

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The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is slowly getting back on its feet after it was on the brink of shutting down in 2011.

A $30,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust, announced by the symphony Monday, will fund a new advertising campaign to expand the orchestra's mission throughout Clark County.

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Vancouver Symphony Orchestra information and tickets available here.

After a five-year absence, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will perform a free concert on Sept. 8 in Esther Short Park.

"Everybody is excited," said Igor Shakhman, the symphony's executive director. "It's our chance to give back to the community."

The organization was forced to restructure in 2011 amid a struggling economy and drop in corporate sponsors and private donations. "It was in huge trouble," he said.

Now, the nonprofit orchestra is seeing steady

improvements and growth, said Shakhman, the symphony's only full-time employee.

Shakhman hopes that the advertising campaign will continue the orchestra's economic improvement. The entire $30,000 from the grant will be used for the campaign, he said.

"We designed a plan to attract new audiences, and to make everybody aware, especially in Clark County," he said.

Their advertising will reach local newspapers, cable channels and social networks, Shakhman said. In addition, about 5,000 student ticket vouchers will be sent to schools within Clark County, he said.

For the first time, the orchestra has invited renowned stars from the across United States and internationally. Pianist and guest conductor Awadagin Pratt and guest artist baritone Stephen Salters will kick off the orchestra's 35th season at the concert in September.

The orchestra staff is applying for more grants and will host events throughout the year to raise more money for the organization, Shakhman said.

In November, orchestra staff plan to host a gala at Clark College. Shakhman said to expect music and surprises. Last year, the event brought in about $60,000 and is expected to be the major fundraising event of the year, he said.

"For me, it's an honor to be a part of this organization and the community in general," Shakhman said. "It is inspiring to see a community supporting art."


Stefanie Donahue: 360-735-4510; stefanie.donahue@columbian.com