The music has been silenced for the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra: it is ceasing operations after more than 30 years.
Jim Toopes, president of the orchestra, says the organization was eating through reserve funds even before the economy soured in 2008. After four seasons of falling attendance and dwindling donations, there was just no way to keep going.
“It’s just an issue of the times that the arts seem to be negatively impacted when there’s a recession or economic slowdown,” said Toopes. “We’re focusing now on the closing up, the sad but necessary aspect of closing down the operations.”
The orchestra performed up to four concerts a year and, at times, had up to 60 players.
Toopes says there is no rescue on the immediate horizon, but the orchestra is not auctioning off its music library or instruments just yet. “We’re making arrangements to have those stored with a local university in hopes that maybe this event will cause citizens to rise up and say we really, truly need an orchestra in North Georgia, and we want it in Gainesville.”
The orchestra’s last concert was back in July, and Toopes says the musicians played that show for free.