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Concert sales up for new season

Ticket sales for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic have seen some improvement since its season began in September.

But the orchestra is still struggling financially as a task force continues to discuss ideas to deal with the pending expiration of the musicians’ contract this summer.

While the Philharmonic is unsure what steps it will take before the contract ends in August, the task force has presented the board with a variety of suggestions, President and CEO J.L. Nave says.

The recommendations all look at ways to financially benefit the orchestra, including the number of concerts, the structure of the staff and orchestra and new projects for the Philharmonic to develop revenue.

“I think it’s an ongoing process right now,” Nave says. “Our board meets monthly, and this is certainly a topic that has been ongoing for the last three or four months.”

Since the season began in the fall, ticket sales have gone well, Nave says. He says the Philharmonic is ahead of budget on single-ticket sales for the entire year, due in large part to programming.

“Certainly just the energy and excitement of the music from our musicians, it’s just getting more and more people talking about the orchestra and saying, ‘You’ve got to go hear this.’ ”

In addition, Nave says he has heard more comments about concerts weeks after the performance – more than he has heard since starting with the Philharmonic seven years ago.

The Philharmonic ended its previous season with a $1.8 million deficit, and ticket sales make up only a quarter of the orchestra’s revenue for the year. The rest is from endowments and contributions.

“The attendance continues to be strong,” Nave says, “so certainly that is a very positive sign for us.”