For Release March 7, 2023
ORCHESTRA IOWA ANNOUNCES SUSPENSION OF BRUCEMORCHESTRA
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – As Orchestra Iowa prepares to release its 101st season plans later this spring, we must take a moment to share a very difficult decision with our community. Following lengthy discussion and exploration by the Orchestra Iowa Board of Directors and Executive Committee on the heels of a double cancellation in September 2022, Orchestra Iowa has determined it most responsible to suspend production of its Brucemorchestra event for the coming season and pursue other options to replace it.
This decision was not reached easily, and many factors were weighed in what ultimately became the clearest path forward. The Orchestra Iowa Board, staff, and musicians remain committed to sharing a full season of transformative programs that are both accessible to the communities in which we operate and are responsible and sustainable for the long-term health of the organization. Rising production and labor costs to stage Brucemorchestra, combined with the unpredictable weather has created a hurdle to meeting these goals.
“The Board of Directors wrestled with the critical role of this event in the community and the realities of how to be responsible stewards for the orchestra,” said Lisa Rhatigan, chair of the Board of Directors. “Ultimately, we recognized there are ways we can evolve and adapt to the situation, and we made the tough decision to pursue the next season with a different plan.”
The Orchestra will continue to seek out new ways to partner throughout the community, and specifically with Brucemore, the primary collaborator and host for Brucemorchestra ever since its inception in 2008.
Jeff Collier, CEO of Orchestra Iowa, noted, “The collaboration between Brucemore and Orchestra Iowa has long been a treasured partnership, and we are immensely grateful to the team at Brucemore for their remarkable service to the greater arts community in Cedar Rapids. We are eager for the opportunity to continue the spirit of Brucemorchestra through new joint efforts between our teams.”
The 2023-24 season will be announced in April, and Orchestra Iowa will unveil a new concert presentation that aims to continue the tradition of an accessible, community-focused program, while mitigating some of the growing expense.
“We know this is a disappointing outcome for so many in our community,” said Collier. “We are fully committed to exploring unique and creative presentations that allow new audiences the opportunity to discover what our current concertgoers already know – that live music experienced with friends and neighbors is a powerful way to inspire people and to build and strengthen the shared sense of community.”
Brucemorchestra was launched in 2008 following the devastating floods that destroyed much of downtown Cedar Rapids, including the Orchestra’s performance home at the Paramount Theatre. The team at Brucemore generously opened their grounds to enable the community to come together on the front lawn of the historic mansion. The tradition continued opening Orchestra Iowa’s season for 15 years, only missing the event once in 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The concert returned with extraordinary response in September 2021, as the Orchestra’s first performance following 18 months of concert cancellations due to Covid-19. In September 2022, at the start of its Centennial season, Orchestra Iowa experienced its first fully rained-out Brucemorchestra event due to rain and lightning, with no further options to reschedule.
“We have always been acutely aware of the investments made in mounting Brucemorchestra year after year, and the weather has cooperated kindly,” offered Tim Hankewich, Music Director of Orchestra Iowa. “I am personally very sad to see this event come to an end, but I recognize that it is the most responsible path forward following last year’s rain out. We have some exciting things in store at Orchestra Iowa, but first, we must close one chapter to start the next.”
Orchestra Iowa will announce its 2023-24 season lineup of masterworks, pops, and community programs at its concerts on April 15 at the Paramount and April 16 at Hancher.