We have just now received word that our May 13-14 performances of Bach’s monumental Mass in B Minor were a success in every way — we knew that they were an artistic triumph, but now we have just learned that we not only broke even — we ended up about $4908 over the top! What a miracle!
As you may recall my posts from last fall, there was some doubt that the Bach would happen at all. After the triumphant yet deeply spiritual Monteverdi Vespers, we ended the concert with a shortfall of $13,000. Remember Carl saying, “we cannot continue forward with our plans for Bach’s Mass in B Minor, without taking care of this deficit first” ? We sent out an appeal to the Honolulu community and begged and pleaded for help. And the money started coming in, closing the gap to within $2,000. So I wrote a post, called “D*** the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” which meant that Carl had decided to go for it after all, even though he projected a $30,000 deficit beyond ticket sales.
We believe there are a number of factors which made the Bach such a success. First, it’s been almost two years without the Honolulu Symphony, and people were really anxious to hear the orchestra again. Our performances of the St. Matthew Passion in 2000 and the St. John Passion were full, but not to the “overflowing—standing room only—people being turned away” scene at the Bach B-Minor.
Secondly, we got tons of free publicity—we especially want to thank Steven Mark of the Honolulu Star Advertiser for his feature articles, Noe Tanigawa of Hawaii Public Radio for her great radio interview and Ian Capps, also of Hawaii Public Radio, for his support during the pledge drive and on his program, The Early Muse. You can check my post for links to the newspaper articles and the radio interview in case you missed them. We also got lots of email support from Chamber Music Hawaii, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and the American Guild of Organists.
Last, but certainly not least, we thank everyone who contributed money to this project. I think there were at least 15 donors who gave $500 or (much) more and many others who contributed $50, $100 and $200. We especially want to thank the musicians themselves, who through Live Music Awareness, gave the largest donation of all — and inserted a full-page ad in the program besides! And of course we cannot forget the countless hours put in by our volunteers towards this project, notably Carol Langner and Nedra Walker.
A year ago, when Carl announced this most ambitious season, with the “bookends” being the Monteverdi Vespers and Bach’s Mass in B-Minor, everyone including me, thought it would take a huge leap of faith and a heap of money to bring it off. Well — it happened! and I guess we should have never doubted Carl to make it happen. Now it’s just a few short weeks to the last service on August 21st, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.