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Macon Symphony shutting down after October concert

The head of the Macon Symphony Orchestra says they're shutting down after their next concert in October.

In a letter to patrons, posted on their web site, symphony chairman Bob Veto says they're suffering from declining ticket sales and corporate sponsorship.

Meanwhile, their costs are rising.

As a result, he said, they may not be able to pay their bills if they went ahead with this year's full slate of four concerts. They also might not be able to pay their musicians.

The music is stopping just yet, but the Macon Symphony Orchestra has announced that they will be closing their doors soon.

With more than 40 years going strong, the Macon Symphony Orchestra will soon be playing a farewell tune. They are shutting down and holding their last concert on October 14, 2017 at the Grand Opera House.

Orchestra president Bob Veto blames declining ticket sales and sponsorships. He also says most people do not know that almost all of their musicians, 70 out of 72, are from out of town.

"When we have a concert, those 70 people, we have to pay their traveling expense and lodging and per diem. They come in for several days, so it costs us on average about $50,000 to stage a concert,” explains Veto.

He says ticket prices just do not cover that. Veto says it maybe just be that the younger crowd is steering away from classical music.

"My demographic, the older population, we still really value classical music. I think the younger crowd is flocking to other music venues and not so interested in hearing a classical concert, and that's hurt us, I suppose, too,” says Veto.

He is not the only person upset about the orchestra saying goodbye.

"Well, I mean I was devastated because the fact that I've been to so many of the concerts and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. In fact, I met some friends I still have today through the concerts. Plus, my uncle was a participant in the orchestra,” says Anna Alford.

She plays the clarinet, bass, and piano. Alford’s great-uncle, Bob Barnette, played with the orchestra for over 30 years.

"I guess it's just a sign of the changing times. I don't know if it's necessarily good or bad, but it's a loss of a bit of culture,” says Maconite and music-lover Brian Elliott.

It is a loss that many Maconites say they hope can be restored. People who have already paid for season tickets or Pops tables and tickets may contact the symphony office for refunds.

Veto says we are incredibly grateful for you, our loyal patrons, many of whom have been with us from the very beginning. The Macon Symphony Orchestra owes its existence to you, for you have kept the music alive long past when other orchestras have closed their doors.

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