(PORTLAND, OR.) – The Oregon Symphony broke another record at Gala 2019: Landmark with $1.2 million raised on Saturday, April 13, at the Portland Art Museum. More than 400 guests, with Honorary Chair Jordan Schnitzer, honored the legacy of Arlene Schnitzer and the late Harold Schnitzer, as they celebrated the Symphony’s standing as a landmark organization in Oregon and nationally. This is the fifth consecutive year the Symphony has broken its fundraising record at the signature event. Attendees cheered as music and dance by Native American group The Thunderbird Lodge Singers culminated the festivities.
The evening began with the Symphony’s annual free community concert held at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The program, titled Music of the Americas, was a tribute to the vast influence that Latin music has had on composers hailing from all three Americas.
Midway through the concert, the 2019 Schnitzer Wonder Award, created by Jordan Schnitzer in honor of his parents Harold and Arlene Schnitzer, was presented to Mariachi Una Voz, a group comprised of middle-and high-school students from the Hillsboro School District. The award, accepted by the group’s manager Dan Bosshardt in both English and Spanish, includes a $10,000 contribution. Following the award presentation members of Mariachi Una Voz, dressed in traditional attire, filled the stage to perform two pieces with the orchestra and received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd.
Following the concert, gala guests walked across the South Park Blocks for a three-course formal dinner in the Portland Art Museum’s Kridel Ballroom. The room was decorated with floor-to-ceiling banners featuring line drawings of famous landmarks from North, South, and Central America by artist Amanda Iler Fuson.
As dinner began, Showalter shared many of the recent exciting Oregon Symphony achievements including its continued work in the community and the growth of its classical concert series next season. Principal Timpanist Jon Greeney then took the stage with three of his student musicians and Assistant Principal Percussionist Michael Roberts to present Steve Reich’s Clapping Music. This minimalist piece is performed entirely by individuals clapping hands in different rhythms and presented a “hands on” example of how easily everyone can engage with and connect through music.
The delight in the room at this performance was palpable as the bidding began for the Symphony’s most successful gala to date. Showalter expressed his gratitude to all the guests noting, “I thank you all for your incredible support. Your generosity, along with that of all of our annual donors, will make possible our commitment to the broadest and most diverse array of outreach programs in the state. I look forward to our future!”
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ABOUT THE OREGON SYMPHONY
The multi-Grammy-nominated Oregon Symphony ranks as one of America’s major orchestras. Led by Music Director Carlos Kalmar, it serves over 300,000 people annually through more than 110 performances and award-winning education and community engagement programs. Now in its 123rd year, the Oregon Symphony is the oldest orchestra west of the Mississippi.
The Symphony’s ground-breaking 2017/18 Season set box office and fundraising records and was marked by an initiative to connect more deeply with the Portland community. The organization embarked on the year-long Sounds of Home series, which revolutionized the role of the arts in addressing three of the most critical social issues of the day: immigration, the environment, and homelessness. This series made a powerful impact in the community through innovative art, cross-sector partnerships with 37 organizations, and civic leadership. Sounds of Home community concerts hosted in venues across the city reached nearly 3,000 attendees and were viewed by thousands more through live streaming on social media.
The Symphony reached over 15 million radio broadcast listeners in the 2017/18 Season via All Classical Portland as well as American Public Media’s SymphonyCast and Performance Today. The season additionally featured three world premieres, including the first-ever play commissioned by an American orchestra.
Photos for media use are available at orsymphony.org/newsroom.