St. Paul Chamber Orchestra reports operating surplus of nearly $38,000 for fiscal 2021

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Dec. 9—Despite pandemic cancellations and concert changes, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra announced a balanced budget — its 26th in the past 28 years — and an operating surplus of nearly $38,000 for the fiscal year that ended in June.

With concert activity down, operating costs were also down — by 17 percent. Total operating expenses were $8,026,416 for the period. The SPCO announced its fiscal year results at its annual meeting on Wednesday.

Staff and musicians were kept on the payroll and musicians ratified a new two-year contract.

According to an SPCO news release, "the organization entered the pandemic in a position of financial health, and the strong results from FY21 allowed the orchestra to expand its Rainy Day Fund to $4.1 million." At the end of the 2020 fiscal year, the Rainy Day Fund was at $762,284.

Contributions to the annual fund from individuals, corporations and institutions were down by 3 percent from the previous year, but total contributions exceeded $6.6 million, more than the average amount of contributed operating support received annually for the five years before the pandemic, according to the annual report. The SPCO also received $2.3 million in government pandemic assistance for workers.

The SPCO is in its 63rd concert season.

Here are some highlights from the annual report:

— The Orchestra streamed nine concerts live from the Ordway Concert Hall and presented nine encore broadcasts of previously recorded performances.

— There were three outdoor performances in the Twin Cities in June.

— The SPCO joined violinist and former SPCO artistic partner Joshua Bell in a three-concert residency at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival.

— The SPCO's Concert Library online audience reached a record high, with 351,365 visits during the fiscal year — an increase of nearly 133,000 over the previous season's record.

— The SPCO commissioned eight new pieces last season and gave their world premieres via live performances streamed from the Ordway Concert Hall.

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