“In September the Imperial Symphony Orchestra became a professional orchestra,” writes Paul Catala in Sunday’s (4/30) Ledger (Lakeland, FL). “Now in its 51st season, the majority of the ISO’s staff, administration and orchestra members—as well as concertgoers, patrons and season subscribers—agree the change in status from ‘amateur’ to ‘professional’ has led to an overall betterment of the arts in Polk County. [Third-chair trumpet player Mark] Huntington said, … ‘Now, when we have a rehearsal, Mark (Thielen, the conductor) says fix a certain area and it’s fixed—these are professionals.’ … [Executive Director Amy] Wiggins said the ISO has an operating budget of $530,000.… ‘It was a big bite for the symphony, but we have seen an increase in ticket sales and we know the patrons love the sound and performances,’ she said…. Rachelle Schlosser, director of media relations and communications for the League of American Orchestras … said, two-thirds of all orchestras in the U.S. have budgets of less than $300,000. According to the League, in 2014, 1,224 orchestras contributed $1.8 billion to the U.S. economy with a total audience of nearly 25 million with an 18 percent growth in the number of households subscribing.”

Posted May 1, 2017