Update on Members Affected by Wildfires and Helpful Resources

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

We send our thoughts and prayers to our members affected by the wildfires in Southern California (Ventura and Los Angeles Counties). We will update this feed as we learn more from our members. Also, we will share resources with those in need and ways you can help.

Ojai Music Festival

"First, many thanks to those of you who have reached out to us during these last 48 hours. I am very happy to report that all the staff is safe, and there was no damage to their homes or to our office.

Our Ojai and Ventura County communities are experiencing loss and devastation from the Thomas Fire. Our thoughts are with all of our Ojai area neighbors, and with those who are tirelessly serving and supporting the affected communities.

Due to the unpredictability of the fires and still potentially dangerous situation, the Festival office is closed. We aim to resume normal business hours on Monday, December 11."

New West Symphony

"Our community is in crisis, with fires blazing throughout Ventura County. In particular, the schools and families, with whom we have grown so close through The New West Symphony Harmony Project of Ventura County, have been hit particularly hard. Our Harmony Project office in Ventura is closed, but our Thousand Oaks office remains open, and if there is any way we can help, please call us at 805.497.5800. We are sending love and prayers to all our friends and community members whose homes are threatened or lost."

Other Members

We have heard from Conejo Vally Youth Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony, Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, and Werth-It Consulting that their staff and board members are currently safe.

Resources for those Affected

ArtsReady is your cultural organization’s online source for readiness resources, and a web application that can make disaster planning easy.

IRS (the IRS on providing disaster relief to affected employees)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sending our thoughts and prayers to our members affected by the wildfires in Northern California. Here is some information shared by members in Northern California. Also find resources to share with those in need and ways you can help.

Santa Rosa Symphony

Unfortunately the North Bay/Santa Rosa firestorm is and remains a very serious and fluid situation.

Staff-wise and musicians, everyone is safe though many have had to evacuate, as have I, to safer areas, waiting to hear about our homes. We are tremendously saddened that at least one staff member, a musician and several board members have lost their homes.
Our offices remain closed as our phone system and internet remain down, so I am emailing you remotely.

So deeply sorry that I had to cancel the Monday night concert. Fortunately we were able to communicate cancellation to musicians and help those who needed to get back into the Green Music Center to get their instruments. GMC is safe from fire. Thankfully guest conductor and our soloist Joyce Yang were safely taken to SF. The Luther Burbank Center, our other venue, has been damaged but I understand the main hall remains intact.

So in all honesty it is a surreal situation still unfolding. Grateful for the outpouring of support.

Eventually we will come together and persevere. Until then we are looking to take care of each other.

Alan Silow, president & CEO
Santa Rosa Symphony

Music in the Mountains

Due to Cal Fire needing to set up a command post and fire camp at the Nevada County Fairgrounds for the Lobo Fire, Friday night's concert "Brahms First Symphony" has moved to the Don Baggett Theatre @ Nevada Union High School, 11761 Ridge Rd, Nevada City. Advance tickets will be honored.

Napa Valley Performing Arts Center, Lincoln Theatre

Our thoughts are with the Napa Valley and surrounding communities as we continue to experience wildfires. We have received a number of inquiries and want to update everyone - Lincoln Theater has been fortunate and has not sustained any damage. However, our hearts go out to those who have been affected across many North Bay counties.

Napa Valley Youth Symphony

With the continued unpredictability of the fire situation, we will be cancelling this Sunday's scheduled concert. Everyone take care of yourself and we'll make music together soon.



Advocacy Alert: Tax Bills and California Orchestras

New Tax Bills Could Jeopardize Orchestras

To pass tax reform before year-end, both the House and Senate recently passed separate but similar tax bills. Unfortunately, both versions of the tax bill would have a negative impact on charitable giving.

Because both the House and Senate tax bills propose doubling the standard deduction, access to specific incentives for income tax deductions of gifts to charity become severely limited to only the top five percent of taxpayers who itemize their deductions. The charitable sector had actively supported the idea of a Universal Charitable Deduction so that the incentive to give to charities would be available to both itemizers and non-itemizers. However, Universal Charitable Deduction proposals offered by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and James Lankford (R-OK) never made it into the final bill nor were given an opportunity for a floor vote.

Unfortunately, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that charities, including nonprofit arts organizations, could see a staggering loss of up to $20 billion annually as a result of this tax policy change.

Because the House and Senate passed bills that are not the same, they now need to work out these differences. So tax reform is not over yet. That means there is still time to act.

The simplest and best way is to telephone your Congressmember and Senators.

  1. Call the Capitol switchboard (202-224-3121) and follow the prompts to be connected with the office where you want to leave a message. It will take about two-minutes.
  2. To find out who your Congressmember is, click here and input your orchestra's (or your) zip code. To contact Senators Feinstein and Harris, click here.
  3. Once connected, identify yourself as a someone who lives and/or works in their district and let them know you oppose the tax bill.

You can see a detailed comparison of the House and Senate bills here.

2018 Annual Conference Call for Sessions

We want to hear your ideas! ACSO invites you and your colleagues to submit conference breakout sessions. This three-day convening is planned around your needs and in response to industry challenges and trends. It is designed to focus on skill-building and to facilitate collaboration, exploration, and connections on multiple levels.

Visit our Call for Session Submission Form to submit your ideas; anything from fully planned sessions to just sending along a speaker suggestion.

Questions? Contact us at office@acso.org or at 800-495-2276. Submissions are due Friday, December 15, 2017.

ACSO Communities in Crisis Concert Fund

The ACSO Communities in Crisis Concert Fund has been established to support communities throughout the state and region that have been affected by natural disasters and other tragedies and are coming together to heal through the power of music.

The purpose is to provide our members with funds to help offset the production costs associated with special relief concerts that they are staging to bring the community they serve closer and cope with the significant crisis they are facing.

Our inaugural efforts go to support our members in the North Bay Area affected by wildfires, including the Santa Rosa Symphony's November 20 Community Concert. The concert will be free to the public and all proceeds will go to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund.

Learn more and donate at www.acso.org/concertfund

Upcoming Fire Relief Concerts:

Sunday, November 19, at 7:30 PM
San Francisco Symphony
Davies Symphony Hall, 201 N Van Ness, San Francisco
(415) 864-6000

In response to the devastating Northern California wildfires last month, the San Francisco Symphony is proud to present Symphony Relief: A Benefit Concert for the North Bay. This special event—featuring Michael Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony and SF Symphony Chorus, along with a special lineup of guest stars—showcases a program of iconic works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Copland, and more.

The SF Symphony family is dedicated to helping our neighbors to the north. Michael Tilson Thomas, the SF Symphony musicians, the Chorus, special guests, and the stage crew, ushers, and Box Office staff are proud to donate their services on a volunteer basis, with all proceeds benefitting the North Bay Fire Relief Fund and the Sonoma County Resilience Fund.

Monday, November 20, at 7:30 PM
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center
(707) 546-8742
Tickets not available online

Responding to the enormous need in the community it has been a part of for 90 years, the Santa Rosa Symphony, with support from Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center, will present a Free Fire Relief Benefit Concert on Monday, November 20, 2017 at 7:30 pm.

Conductor Emeritus Corrick Brown joins Music Director Bruno Ferrandis for this special event, which will also feature Conductor Laureate Jeffrey Kahane playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The program also includes Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Eglar’s “Nimrod” from Enigma Variations and Beethoven’s highly-praised Symphony No. 3, Eroica.

Donations collected at ticket reservation and at the concert support Redwood Credit Union’s North Bay Fire Relief Fund, Community Foundation Sonoma County's Sonoma County Resilience Fund and Sonoma State University’s Noma Gives (which supports affected students, staff and faculty). The Symphony thanks the orchestra, conductors, ushers and stage crew for donating their time and talent.

Please join the Symphony on November 20 in Weill Hall, Green Music Center, for an evening shared with good friends, good will, heartfelt giving and excellent music. We are, indeed, stronger together. #SonomaStrong

Admission to this benefit concert is free (2 tickets per household), though requested donations are accepted at time of reservation and at the concert. Lobby opens at 6:30 pm.

ADVOCACY ALERT: Congress Tax Reform Bill Impacts Charities

Republican leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee pushed through the release of their official tax reform bill H.R. 1 in Congress today to overhaul the American federal income tax system. While it will take several days to fully analyze this 429-page bill and its potential impact on charitable giving, nonprofit organizations and professional artists, we encourage you to continue checking this page frequently as we post updates and further analysis.

Topline Proposed Change:
The charitable deduction is severely compromised by limiting the charitable tax deduction to only the highest income taxpayers. 

The Solution:
Encourage your Senators and House members to include a “universal charitable deduction” to the tax reform bill so that all taxpayers (not just the highest income individuals) are encouraged to give to their favorite charities and make the contributions a tax-deductible gift.

ACSO is a member of the Arts Action Fund. Click here to learn more about this issue.