Beginning in 2013, ideas began to surface about possible community outreach projects in which musicians could participate. At the time, musicians had formed a Community Outreach Committee to look into projects which we, as one large group, would pool our resources in order to give back to the local community. Included in the discussions were non-musical and musical endeavors, such as participating in phone banks for charitable organizations, donating a tree the Festival of Trees to benefit the Children’s Hospital, raising money or goods for the Utah Food Bank and playing chamber music to benefit struggling local small businesses.
In December 2014, as our first non-musical community project, we elected to participate in the Festival of Trees to benefit Primary Children’s Hospital Foundation. An artificial LED, pre-lit tree was purchased and decorated by the musicians. Violist Roberta Zalkind, through her musical supplies business, made available beautiful ornaments, mostly of tiny musical instruments, staves and notes, at cost. Individual musicians purchased these decorations for the tree. The Utah Symphony Box Office generously donated several pairs of ticket vouchers to hang on the tree. Other colleagues donated hand-made ornaments. Our tree was sold at the private auction on the first day of the festival!
The following year, we opted to decorate another tree for the 2015 Festival of Trees. Our tree was similar, but even more elaborate than the first, which included a signed ornament by Maestro Thierry Fischer and again, several pairs of Utah Symphony ticket vouchers and musical ornaments. Our tree sold early in the public sale and raised $2,000 for the children’s hospital!
This year, we elected to donate cash to the Utah Food Bank. This charity supplies food at no cost to individuals and families who experience food insecurity. Because the Utah Food Bank can purchase supplies in bulk quantities, cash donations go a long way. Cash donations enable the food bank to purchase items that they lack in their warehouse, particularly protein items such as peanut butter and tuna fish. The Utah Food Bank is a state-wide charity system which fills food pantries in various communities throughout Utah. Last year, the UFB supplied 37.5 million pounds of food to those in need. Because of a generous 2-1 match from the Bank of America, our $1101 donation from musicians translated into $3303 for the food bank!
Thank you, kindly, for your generosity!