Fundraising remains a struggle for many organizations as the COVID-19 pandemic drags into its second year. The Kingston Symphony is no exception. After postponing their two main fundraising events in 2020, they have redesigned their annual events and hope to continue to raise funds through pandemic-safe events for as long as is needed.
Two of these annual events, the Music Lovers’ House Tour and the Beat Beethoven run, will be operating with a virtual component in the coming months.
“The Kingston Symphony depends on engagement from the public to thrive,” said Andrea Haughton, General Manager, and Mercedes Morris, Development Coordinator, Kingston Symphony Association (KSA). “Traditionally this has meant physical ticket sales, in-person fundraisers and events, and above all a commitment to excellent live performances.”
The pair said when the pandemic began, everything just stopped.
“We quickly decided that we could not focus on what we could not do, but rather embrace what we could. We realized that the Kingston Symphony is uniquely positioned to reshape the nature of how we deliver our programming, stay connected with our audience, and reach members of our community who we could only dream of reaching before,” they said
In an email to Kingstonist, KSA said they absolutely respect that the in-person experience cannot be replaced, and have been diligently working to connect with their audience through the mediums available to them.
Their response to the challenge? Going digital. Virtual events like the Music Lovers’ House Tour and Beat Beethoven are just two ways in which the symphony association said they can stay connected with the community while raising funds for their organization.
In September 2020, the Kingston Symphony Volunteers also moved all of their fundraising events (Book Fair, Vinyl Records Sale, CD Sale, Nearly New Sale) online and created a store. Each week, new items are added and orders are available to be picked up.
Over the last year, the symphony said they have found creative ways in which to perform together while not being able to be physically together on stage.
“We have created isolated orchestra performances, interviews with our musicians and Music Director, a video series for children called Harmon in Space, and live-streamed concerts featuring small ensembles. Our musicians have also made virtual visits to school-aged children, seniors, and members of our community who have felt isolated as a result of the pandemic,” they said.
“As we look to the future, we know that a post-pandemic world will bring its own set of challenges as audiences gradually return to live events and we evaluate the safest way to accommodate them.”
Spring Fundraising Events
Music Lovers’ Virtual House Tour
This will be the 25th year for the Music Lovers’ House Tour. Ten homes will be featured on the virtual tour, which will be available Friday, May 28, Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30, 2021. Tickets for this event cost $30, and participants will receive a passbook distributed in the form of an online pdf which includes the information about each of the house on this year’s tour.
The homes are chosen by volunteers on the House Tour committee, and are usually a mix of historic and newly renovated homes. In past years, the tour also included churches in which participants could enjoy a lunch provided by volunteers at the respective churches. Due to the pandemic, Pan Chancho has partnered with the symphony to put together an assortment of tea sandwiches, fruit, and cookies. The lunch is $10 plus tax (pick-up only) and can be purchased by clicking the link in the online ticket confirmation email.
Details on the Virtual House Tour can be found here.
Beat Beethoven 2021: The Virtual Challenge
For the past 25 years, thousands of participants have challenged themselves to finish an 8 km race or a 4 km walk through downtown Kingston before the Kingston Symphony has finished playing 50 minutes of Beethoven’s best music. This year things will be a little different.
In June 2021 the Kingston Symphony Association will launch its first virtual race – Beat Beethoven: The Virtual Challenge – in celebration of 25 years of this unique community event. Participants can take to a racetrack of their choosing whether it is a hiking trail, a city street, or a treadmill and once again challenge themselves to beat Beethoven in support of the Kingston Symphony.
“Have fun with it and explore our community at the same time! Walk your dog for 4 km or go on an 8 km hike with your family on your favourite trail,” KSA said in the release. “Get your kids (10 and under for 1 km) to run down the street and back with their friends and see who’s the fastest! Any route you want and any activity on your feet counts during this year’s virtual Beat Beethoven event.”
Registrants will receive a Beat Beethoven t-shirt and, as a bonus for completing the 8 km distance, they will also receive a new Beat Beethoven medal. Children participating in the 1 km virtual run will receive a Beat Beethoven ribbon.
For more details, and to register for these events, visit the Kingston Symphony website at https://www.kingstonsymphony.ca/