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Symphony orchestra receives state grant

Maestro Claire Fox Hilliard directs the Albany Symphony Orchestra, which recently received a state grant to fund operating expenses.

Maestro Claire Fox Hilliard directs the Albany Symphony Orchestra, which recently received a state grant to fund operating expenses.

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Symphony Orchestra has been awarded a $25,000 Partner Grant for operating support and an Arts Education Bonus Award of $9,760, totaling $34,760, from the Georgia Council for the Arts in Fiscal Year 2014.

Just under $1 million in funding will be distributed for operating support, arts projects, exceptional arts education programs and performing arts to 66 organizations throughout the state. Funds awarded by the GCA include appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

"This year's grant cycle was exceptionally competitive and the funded organizations provide some of the most outstanding programming and services in the state," said GCA Director Karen Paty. "The extraordinary quality work done by these organizations has a meaningful economic and community impact at both a state and local level. We are pleased to be able to support this work and look forward to working in partnership with these institutions over the next 12 months."

The funding for educational programs will enable the ASO to expand Carnegie Hall's LinkUp program to additional students in and around Albany. In cooperation with this program, the orchestra enriches the curricula of elementary schools by training teachers and providing lessons, CDs and workbooks for the students. More than 1,000 third through fifth graders participated in two children's concerts followed by an evening family concert in March at the Albany Municipal Auditorium. The next LinkUp concerts are scheduled for March 14, 2014, also at the auditorium.

"We are delighted to receive this support and to be able to offer more students this music education opportunity. The collaboration with Carnegie Hall allows students to learn and perform music otherwise beyond the capacity of their programs," said Claire Fox Hillard, ASO music director.

"Also, the operating support is welcomed since ticket sales account for only a relatively small portion of our total budget and do not cover the costs of our concerts."

As a result of GCA's recently completed strategic planning process, the FY '14 grant program was restructured to provide broader access to GCA grants and a stronger focus on community impact. "The Grant Review Panel awarded the Albany Symphony high scores for the services that it provides to the people of Georgia," said Tina Lilly, grants program manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development (which includes the GCA).

Grant recipients include theaters, dance companies, museums, literary organizations, libraries, cities, schools, colleges and multi-discipline arts entities.

Entering its 50th anniversary season in 2013-14, the Albany Symphony has 12 diverse subscription concerts scheduled beginning on Sept. 28. The ASO is a fully professional per service orchestra serving the southwest Georgia region with classical, pops, contemporary, educational and special concerts. It draws professional performers and artists from a 100-mile radius and offers these artists many opportunities to perform. Recognized for its innovative audience developmental efforts and diverse programming, the orchestra has received the League of American Orchestras and American Society of Composers Authors publishers (ASCAP) awards on multiple occasions.