Austin Symphony Orchestra stays strong - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

With the Minnesota Orchestra off beat, the Austin Symphony Orchestra stays strong


AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Austin Symphony Orchestra begins its 57th season.  Ranging from high school students to 30 year veterans, the orchestra has been flooding the ears of audiences since 1957.

While other orchestras are on strike, and asking for higher wages, this mostly volunteer orchestra is paid anywhere from $5 to $10 per event for their talents.

"We're not in the same pay category we do it more for the love," says violin player Susan Radloff.

The orchestra's music is attracting people from around the world to come and play.  Next spring, world renowned pianist Roberto Plano will be making his 4th visit to Austin just to play with the orchestra.  He loves the orchestra's music so much that he is bringing his wife this time, and she will be playing with him.  It looks like music in Minnesota may be down, but is definitely not out.

"Orchestras do so well in Minnesota because there are so many orchestras that don't pay and yet we have lots of fine musicians," Radloff said.

So if they do so well with so little, how does it work?

"We're funded probably 40 or 50 percent from ticket sales, individual contributions, and fund raisers.  The rest is from grants and corporate contributions," said Austin Symphony Orchestra Treasurer Paul Wahlstrom.

The bulk of those contributions come from places like Hormel, the Hormel foundation, US Bank, and the city of Austin itself.  The band places a strong emphasis on giving back to the community, and it is clear the community gives it right back.

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