Orchestra hopes to rebound from tough season

April 29, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The Millbrook Orchestra is hoping to raise funds through a benefit piano concert on Saturday to help pay off the debt from a troubled last season, the executive director said.

Fund raisers also are scheduled for this summer for the upcoming season that will feature a return to a smaller orchestra performing fewer times, said executive director Katherine Edelen.

"We're kind of going back to what it used to be," Edelen said. "The only reason Millbrook exists still is the community's been so great in supporting it."


The benefit piano concert on Saturday night will feature Martin Berkofsky and J.D. Williams, she said. Millbrook needs to make $3,000 to clear the debt from last season, she said.

The concert is expected to raise $4,000, she said.

The Millbrook Orchestra's board of directors canceled the second half of last season due to insufficient funds.

Orchestra officials said the orchestra had grown faster than the fund raising could keep up.

"We're constantly doing fund raising," she said.

Millbrook had started as a chamber orchestra but grew to a full symphonic orchestra last season with an expanded performance schedule.

To keep a symphonic orchestra going, the Millbrook would have had to raise ticket prices too high for most people to attend, she said.

The Millbrook had about 50 players last season and will have about 33 next season, she said.

Four concerts are scheduled for the upcoming season that starts in September compared to nine last season.

On June 1, the annual Millbrook Gala! will be held at the historic York Hill on Ridge Road in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., to help raise money for the upcoming season.

In addition to the catered buffet, there will be a silent auction to raise money.

She said it is hoped to raise $15,000 at the gala and auction to start the new season.

"Even if we sold every seat at every concert we'd do fund drives trying to keep the costs down," Edelen said. "It's expensive to have a symphony orchestra."

"I think it's amazing there's an orchestra here at all and there's been one almost 20 years," she said.

The benefit performance starts at 8 p.m. at the Frank Creative Arts Center at Shepherd College. Tickets are $20 for adults, $8 for students, and $6 for those under 12.

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