For a second consecutive season, the Yavapai Symphony Association will be giving away a limited number of tickets to Phoenix Symphony concerts in Prescott through its Ticket Gift Back Program.
“There are a number of people in our town who don’t have the means to afford tickets to our concerts,” says David Dunn, president of the Yavapai Symphony Association. “This is our gift back to the community, and it was made possible thanks to a collaboration with APS.”
APS recently announced that it will once again provide a $3,000 grant to fund the program for a second season, which will kick off in September and will run through May 2019. Dunn says the Association will use the grant to give away as many as 100 tickets.
With the program wrapping up its inaugural season, Dunn says this year was a learning experience. The board found that the best way to identify appropriate recipients was by partnering with local organizations that were engaged with individuals who would not otherwise be able to attend the concerts. These organizations include Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters, Prescott Meals on Wheels, Yavapai College, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Yavapai College, Vet Tix, and Prescott Public Schools.
Tricia Berlowe, coordinator at OLLI, says the program has had an incredible impact on those who benefited from the free tickets. She says many seniors served by OLLI, particularly those on scholarship, are living on incredibly limited incomes and could never afford to attend a symphony concert on their own. Each recipient receives two tickets so they can invite a guest — in many cases, someone who can drive them to the performance. Berlowe says OLLI serves retirees who get to come to classes on campus but often don’t have a lot of other outlets.
“We have had people in our office in tears (when they learn they are receiving free tickets to the symphony),” says Berlowe. “One woman in her 80s was thrilled that she was receiving two tickets. She said she has so many people in her life who help her on a regular basis, and the greatest pleasure was to give back by inviting a friend who had done so many favors for her. We had another man, a veteran, in his 90s, who attended a symphony concert with his daughter. She came back multiple times to tell me what a lovely day he had.”
The Yavapai Symphony Association was formed in 1966 by a group of community leaders committed to bringing classical music concerts to Prescott. Today, the Association puts on seven concerts each year at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, a professional concert venue that just celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Dunn says the association is conducting a review of the Ticket Gift Back program this summer to see what worked and what didn’t, with the goal of identifying the right partner organizations for ticket giveaways and making improvements for the coming season. Organizations interested in participating should contact the Yavapai Symphony Association at (928) 776-4255.