Charlotte Symphony shares good financial news

Folks at the annual membership meeting of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra heard heartening news Wednesday from executive director Bob Stickler at Belk Theater.

The organization needed to raise $6 million this fiscal year in contributed income toward a $9.3 million budget. And with nearly eight weeks left, it has already gathered $5.7 million.

This was the first chance for members to meet Stickler since the word “interim” has been removed from his title, and he took the stage third.

Board chair Emily Smith began and spoke of “two game-changing events this year”: music director Christopher Warren-Green signing a three-year contract extension and Stickler jumping in to replace Jonathan Martin last August.

Warren-Green came on to say he “fell in love with this orchestra even before I was here” and praise musicians “whose work ethic is second to none.”

Then Stickler delivered the news, most of it good: 1,331 contributors have invested in the symphony to date, a 14 percent increase over the same time last year; the average contribution is $2,307, more than double last year’s average; and there are 26 percent more League Members, who give $2,000 or more.

The CSO has already gotten $1.4 million toward next year’s budget in multi-year pledges, plus the anonymous $2 million grant announced earlier for 2013-14.

He cautioned that there’s much work to do, such as increasing corporate contributions (which were about half of this year’s $300,000 goal) and making a case for funding to state government and the local Arts & Science Council.

He finished by analyzing two symphonies the orchestra will play next season: Tchaikovsky’s Sixth, with its ending “like a man’s dying breath,” and Brahms’ Second, which “ends with a blaze of brass in triumph. The Charlotte Symphony is Brahms’ Second.”