see our way clear financially, we’ll have to close down.”
“We don’t want to,” she quickly added, but her wordless, follow-up shrug spoke volumes.
The council has done wonders for the community in its decade-long life, with delightful summer concerts in the park, various fall and winter concert series, a week-long music camp every summer and the ongoing Northwinds concert band for children and youth, plus a bursary program to help committed young people with their music education.
But all these things cost money to continue, and start-up grants have petered out, so Baxter and fellow board member Bill Fry are appealing to individuals, businesses and service clubs to step forward to help out.
The first and easiest—and most fun—thing you can do, they say, is simply to buy tickets for the two fall concerts at Bobcaygeon’s Trinity United Church. Voices of Showtime will be featured on Sunday, Oct. 23, and the Guelph-based women’s Christmas trio, Boreal will perform Sunday, Nov. 20. Both concerts are at 2 pm.
Single tickets are $30 apiece or you can get both concerts for $50. They’re available in Bobcaygeon at My Favourite Things and Bobcaygeon Electronics, and in Fenelon Falls at Stokes on Trent. Or call 705-731-7497 or see bobcaygeonmusic.com.
If we sell 100 tickets, we should break even. Two hundred tickets will help put us in the black, and give us money to continue, says Fry.
“People are generous,” says Fry, “but they don’t always realize how much it costs to put these events on.” The summer Concerts in the Park cost about $2,500 a night, he says, and rely mainly on sponsors and donations, as the concerts are free. And if it rains, the costs are still there.
Both Fry and Baxter recognize that Andy Harris was a genius at fundraising, with a genial, personal approach that could be more accurately called “friendraising.” But the problem of becoming too reliant on one charismatic individual becomes painfully obvious when that individual is no longer there.
So the council needs donors, ongoing supporters, and volunteers to help run things. “Our future depends on community support,” says Baxter. Even granting foundations, want to know how involved and supportive the community is before giving out the bucks.
“My biggest concern,” says Baxter, “is what happens to the children and youth if the organization can no long carry on. I’ve seen some children in families who are really struggling—but getting involved in music has been one of the things that has kept them going.
“Hockey’s great, but it’s not for everyone.”