Letter: Support local arts organizations

These are difficult times for any arts organization, as they are for all the creative artists and musicians these organizations rely upon to fulfill their mission statements. Saugerties Pro Musica is no different.

The board of Saugerties Pro Musica has decided to take some unusual steps in an attempt to save our 25th season. We already cancelled the last three concerts of the 24th season. Now we are cancelling the first three concerts of our 25th season — September, October and November 2020 — limiting us to only five concerts scheduled each month from January to May of 2021.

Due to the savings incurred by cancelling those six concerts, the remaining five concerts will be free. No admission will be charged. This guarantees that a community struggling under the economic losses of the Covid 19 pandemic can at least have good music for free.

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One caveat. This can only happen if the Saugerties United Methodist Church, where our concerts are held, is available for this purpose.  Currently, they do not anticipate allowing third-party use of their facility this fall. We hope to be able to hold concerts there in 2021. 

If we cannot, the entire season is lost.

On another note, our contract with the musicians reads that they receive payment on the day of the concert, but if a performance is cancelled they do not get paid. In light of these difficult times, we will prepay half of their contracted performance fee now to help tide them over during this pause, with the balance paid on the concert date. If events dictate that we must cancel more concerts, we will make every effort to reschedule the musicians to a future concert date. But, if we are unable to reschedule for whatever reason, the advance fee may be kept by them without repayment. 

This is our way of helping to ensure musicians are here for future performances. This is unprecedented for any tiny organization to do, but extraordinary times require extraordinary actions.

In effect, besides helping our musicians and our community, Saugerties Pro Musica is self-funding its 25th season. Many organizations are not able to do that. This will leave them a bigger piece of whatever arts funding is available for not-for-profits in these tight financial times. 

Please support these organizations and our local advertisers. Local businesses are the heart of our town. They fund organizations such as ours, as well as countless other events and organizations that help to make Saugerties the vibrant, thriving community we all enjoy. They deserve our support.

Thanks to everyone who has helped make Saugerties Pro Musica a successful institution celebrating a quarter-century of fine music in our community. Our next concert is January 24, 2021. Until then, remember — stay safe and healthy — and keep music in your lives.

Lisa Mayone, Edward Leavitt
Richard Frisbie
Saugerties Pro Musica Board
Saugerties