PATRICIA C. SYAK | Symphony notes Orchestra offers more than music to Valley

The Youngstown Symphony Society makes an extraordinary contribution to the Mahoning Valley's entertainment, education and economic infrastructure.
During the past season, the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra under music director Isaiah Jackson presented 21 concerts including suburban site concerts at Cafaro Field, Temple El Emeth and Westminster College.
From orchestra concerts to first-run national touring musical theater productions, fully staged professional opera and popular entertainers Michael Bolton, Bill Cosby and Donny Osmond, the Symphony Society presented a full cultural and entertainment spectrum.
In addition to society sponsored events, more than 60 performances were presented by national promoters and regional art organizations at Powers Auditorium.
Through creative educational programming, the society instilled an appreciation for music while assisting young minds to develop their listening skills and stimulate their creativity and imagination.
More than 10,000 pupils and their instructors attended Young People's Concerts at Powers Auditorium, and more than 2,000 children in day care and nursery school through fourth grade were entertained at their schools. Education took another dimension when pupils participated as players in the Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra and Symphonette String Ensemble.
An important part of the society's mission is to engage the community. This year, Storytyme programs were presented monthly at Tod Children's Hospital, and the Youngstown Symphony String Quartet was engaged in weekly musical therapy sessions in the behavioral center at the hospital.
The society's $10 million expansion and renovation plans continued during the 2001/02 season with the refurbishment of Powers Auditorium at the Symphony Center. The more than 2,300 seats were removed and either replaced or refurbished; theater floors were stripped, repaired and sealed with a permanent coating; walls and ceiling were painted, decorative moldings repaired and worn carpet replaced. Wheelchair exit ramps were constructed, and specialized handicap seats installed.
During the first 11 months of operations, more than 123,190 residents enjoyed performances or attended meetings and celebrations at the complex.
Financial contributions
Through the same 11-month period, employees of the Youngstown Symphony Society paid taxes on earnings amounting to $12,000 to Youngstown and $10,000 to Ohio. Federal taxes withheld exceeded $40,000.
Of the $2.5 million total expended by the society during the first 11 months of the current fiscal year for operations and capital programs, more than $953,000 was spent on payroll, guest artists and artistic personnel. An additional $23,000 was spent on the educational development of the area's youths. More than $848,000 was spent on direct costs such as utilities, licensing, maintenance, marketing and advertising, production costs, administrative costs, development and purchase of services.
Using economic multipliers for the entertainment industry compiled for the Avenue of the Arts Economic Impact Analysis (1992), the society generated in its five-county service area 100 additional jobs outside the Youngstown Symphony Center as a direct result of society activities and $652,000 in additional income to the area.
Members will discover more information about the society when they attend the annual meeting at 6 p.m. June 11 at the center. Dinner reservations may be made by calling the symphony office at (330) 744-4269.
XPatricia C. Syak is executive director of the Youngstown Symphony Society.

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