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Brucemorchestra concert era comes to an end in Cedar Rapids
After the 2022 double rainout, Orchestra Iowa is canceling its outdoor season opener
CEDAR RAPIDS — The rain that gave rise to Brucemorchestra, has spelled its ending.
Orchestra Iowa’s season opener launched in 2008 on the front lawn of Brucemore mansion after massive flooding ravaged the orchestra’s home in the Paramount Theatre.
But production costs have risen over the years, and with a double rainout in 2022, it’s too big of a financial risk to continue the event, according to Tuesday’s announcement from the orchestra.
“We know this is a disappointing outcome for so many in our community,” Jeff Collier, the orchestra’s CEO, said in a prepared statement.
“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,” he noted.
“We are eager for the opportunity to continue the spirit of Brucemorchestra through new joint efforts between our teams.”
Orchestra Iowa will announce its 2023-24 season lineup at its concerts on April 15 at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Cedar Rapids and April 16 at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. At that time, a less expensive concert presentation that will retain a community focus will be unveiled.
The outdoor event had become the orchestra’s most expensive concert of the year, requiring an entire venue to be built on the lawn, with stage, lighting, big screens, sound system and other auxiliary features, not to mention paying the musicians, staff and crew, and travel stipends and housing for performers.
“Brucemorchestra each year loses easily in excess of $50,000. That's made up through donations and contributions throughout the year,” Collier told The Gazette in 2022, after the double rainout. Since 2008, the event had only been canceled in 2020 with the pandemic, and was rescheduled once, after a rain delay in 2019.
“We have always been acutely aware of the investments made in mounting Brucemorchestra year after year, and the weather has cooperated kindly,” Maestro Timothy Hankewich said in Tuesday’s announcement.
“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 rainout. We have some exciting things in store at Orchestra Iowa, but first, we must close one chapter to start the next.”
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