The economy is so bad for the Santa Clarita Symphony in Santa Clarita, CA, that they will be keeping their instrument cases shut for...

The economy is so bad for the Santa Clarita Symphony in Santa Clarita, CA, that they will be keeping their instrument cases shut for 2009. Santa Clarita Valley’s only professional orchestra has canceled its 2009 season, including its participation with Art Garfunkel at the Santa Clarita Performing Art Center on January 11. However, Garfunkel, who performs some shows with a symphony, will perform with his band. The concert has not sold out.

The Symphony cited declining ticket sales and a drastic decline in individual and corporate donor contributions as the main reasons for the canceling of the 2009 season. Its annual Family Concert scheduled for April 2009 was also axed.

“We are not going away,” said John Dow, Symphony marketing director, in a statement. “However, it is unlikely that we will be putting a symphony orchestra on the stage anytime soon. Instead the Santa Clarita Symphony organization plans to introduce a Café Series, which will focus on producing smaller performances (duo, trio, quintets, etc.) in intimate settings. The Symphony also plans to continue to offer their popular Bon Appétit series which pairs a concert with a fine dining experience, in a revised format.”

The Santa Clarita Symphony is the latest Southern California orchestra to have been hit by the economic downtrend. The Pasadena Symphony recently announced concert cancellations and layoffs, and the Opera Pacific, Orange County’s only professional opera company, is reportedly in financial straits.

“This is a sad commentary on how the economic downturn is affecting the arts and our community,” added Adam Philipson, managing director of the Performing Arts Center. “We know the founders, leaders and supporters of the Santa Clarita Symphony will take this time to regroup and come back to continue the wonderful work they have been doing for the past five years. We hope the lights will come back on soon.”

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