The New Westchester Symphony Orchestra ("NewWSO") was founded in November 2011 by Conductor Benjamin Niemczyk and adult-beginner bassist and Executive Director Belinda Kan as a community orchestra where musicians of all ages and abilities could come together to play the greatest works of music history. After nine short months, the orchestra has more than doubled in size to almost 40 members, attracting volunteer musicians from ages 15 - 85.With the growth of the NewWSO has come the need to raise funds to sustain operations, especially for special public events such as their Fall Concert which requires the rental of rehearsal space, performance space, printing of music and programs, and personnel expenses. NewWSO has predictably encountered common challenges faced by not-for-profit arts organizations regarding fundraising, such as:- Lack of tax-exempt status for a new organization means disqualification from most grant and corporate sponsorship applications- Membership dues alone are not enough to cover public event expenses, let alone operating costs - Sometimes it takes money to raise money!While NewWSO's tax-exempt status is currently pending, NewWSO has explored alternative methods of fundraising that do not include asking members for more money. In a bold move, the NewWSO chose to utilize the online fundraising platform Kickstarter.com to raise the necessary funds from the general public to produce a live performance at ArtsWestchester in downtown White Plains, NY on October 21, 2012. The "Serious Music, Serious Fun!" NewWSO Kickstarter project launched on August 19 and will end on September 30."Kickstarter.com is an innovative solution to the problems faced by many nascent organizations who need funding for creative projects but have neither the budget, the manpower, nor the tax-exempt status to raise public funds effectively," says Ms. Kan. "Through Kickstarter and social networks we are able to showcase who we are, why this concert makes a necessary and valuable contribution to the community, and raise small amounts of money from a growing fan base, some of whom reside internationally."While not a guaranteed source of funding, Kickstarter aims to reward those projects which are clear, concise, and desired. NewWSO's Fall Concert is planning to be all of this and more with the presentation of well-known works by Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Handel, and Ravel by a group of dedicated avocational musicians, some of whom have only recently returned to their instruments after decades-long absences. These are the same editions of music performed by the great orchestras around the world. It is an ambitious program, but the members of the NewWSO prove that you do not have to be professional musicians to play great music. All that is needed is the desire to play, and the results for the members and the audiences are inspiring and magical.Visit their Kickstarter project page at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/newwso/serious-music-serious-fun-newwsos-fall-2012-concer. No contribution is too small, even $1 is a valued show of support for this concert. The campaign closes on September 30, 2012.The New Westchster Symphony Orchestra's Fall Concert will be held at 3:00pm on October 21, 2012 at ArtsWestchester, 31 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains, NY, 10601. A capacity crowd is expected and tickets are currently available on the NewWSO Kickstarter project page. Visit the NewWSO website, http://www.newsymphony.org, for more information about the orchestra.
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