By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – In 2019, The Catskill Symphony Orchestra brought in record $47,000 with their annual Cabaret Concert, where guest conductors vie for contributions to conduct “Stars and Stripes Forever” at the show’s conclusion.
But on Thursday, March 12, the CSO announced that its biggest fundraiser and the debut of new music director designee Maciej Zoltowski would be cancelled with no plans to reschedule.
“We had no choice,” said Thomas Wolf, executive director. “The governor demanded that every gathering over 100 people be cancelled.”
The CSO was one of several area organizations that saw major fundraisers and events cancelled in the wake of Coronavirus caution.
“It’s devastating for any non-profit,” said Bill Youngs, Foothills executive director.
Foothills, which relies primarily on rentals for income, had several events cancel over the weekend and into the future.
“The (county) Department of Health canceled its annual Health Fair for the 3-4 of April,” said Geoff Doyle, operations manager. “That was even before the ban set in. When we got that call, we just knew.”
The annual Shamrock Swing mother-son dance was cancelled, and the Little Delaware Youth Ensemble cancelled their rehearsals.
“We were going to go ahead with our stream of the Metropolitan Opera (on Saturday, March 14), but they cancelled all the performances, so we had nothing to stream,” said Doyle. “They made the decision for us.”
Only a production of Bold Theatrics “Venus in Fur,” went on as scheduled. “We had 40 people the first night, 35 the second night,” said Steve Dillon, who co-starred and co-produced.
But Sunday, there were less than a dozen in the audience.
Helios Care cancelled their annual Epicurean Festival, their largest annual fundraiser, where they were set to honor Lola Rathbone, retired president and CEO.
“We made the decision even before the guidance got more explicit,” said Dan Ayers, CEO. “As a healthcare provider, we need to take the lead in setting an example. Many of our donors are in a high-risk group, and taking care of our community is more important than raising money.”
The event, which brought in $70,000 last year, will be rescheduled, with a date pending. “We’re looking at late summer or early fall,” he said. “The event isn’t seasonally dependant, so we could hold it any time.”
Even more important, he said, is that he hopes the Coronavirus will have passed, but typical flu season will not yet have begun.
They are also evaluating other events, including the annual Daffodil Brunch, traditionally held the first weekend in May. “We can’t reschedule the blooming of the daffodils,” he said. “But the venue is beautiful, so we can reschedule there.”
At Foothills, Doyle said the staff is using the time they are closed wisely. “We’re doing some projects we don’t normally do until summer,” said Doyle. “Deep cleaning, organizing, putting our nose to the grindstone to get caught up on things that we normally wouldn’t do until August.”
Screenings of the National Theater’s season, starting with “All My Sons” on Sunday, May 10, are still scheduled. “If things aren’t back on track by then, God knows where we’ll be as a business, and as a country,” he lamented.
But for some, the future remains more uncertain. “We’re consulting on what to do next season,” said Wolfe. “But we’re always willing to receive donations from our community.”