Each week I stand in the back of Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral to greet audience members as they leave the concert. With very little exception, those whom I greet are effusive with their praise for that day’s performance and the quality of our weekly programs. Then I am off to the green room to thank the musician(s) and I am always pleased to see audience members lined up to meet and talk with that day’s artist(s) and to witness the excitement and warmth of their conversation. Both encounters continue to illustrate what is implicit in the Noontime Concerts mission statement. It is the elimination of pretense, stigma, or elitism that may have been previously associated with attendance at a live classical music performance. Each week Noontime Concerts provides a world-class live performance experience where we can share, as a community, in the excitement and appreciation of classical music as it was meant to be heard.
The 2017 spring concert series will continue that tradition with a dazzling array of performances that have become a trademark of Noontime Concerts. Its diverse repertoire will include strings, winds, piano, horns, Bach, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Saglietti, Debussy, and Billy Joel (who knew?), sonatas, cantatas, fantasies, variations, and rags. These programs will be performed with extraordinary skill and integrity by many of our most talented local and international touring artists, including an amazing emerging artist and pianist, Michelle Cann.
In January I attended the San Francisco Grants for Arts community meeting. It was fun and exciting to learn about San Francisco’s many diverse and creative arts organizations. I am proud that Noontime Concerts is counted among them. Unfortunately, there was also a somber tone to the meeting, a result of the recent loss, by 2.5% of the vote, of Proposition S (guaranteeing allocation of 16% of the hotel tax to arts organizations) in the local election and the threat of elimination of NEA and NEH at the national level. Unfortunately, the reduction or removal of resources from arts organizations is all too familiar. Frankly, the arts are under siege. Instead of appreciating them as an essential and enriching component of our lives and culture, those who do not value the arts consider supporting them a frivolous and unnecessary expense.
The arts are not about profit for a few, but the enrichment of life for everyone. Therefore, we all need to be more committed than ever to protecting and promoting classical music in all its forms and forums. Your presence and appreciation every week demonstrate how important and significant experiencing live classical music is for you. It is a privilege to serve you and the community with weekly Noontime Concerts, but we must also ask for and rely on your financial support. Your generous tax-deductible donation of $50, $75, $150 is essential to our future.
NOONTIME CONCERTS is an independent 501 (c) (3) nonprofit arts organization, Federal ID #94-3123314. We are supported by public donations; donations at concert time; grants and gifts from the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Grants for the Arts; the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the Helen von Ammon Fund for Emerging Artists and people like you!