What is the mission of The Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio (COSA)? COSA is devoted to cultivating the realm of classical music for new and versed music lovers through education, performances, and festivals that present rarely experienced as well as timeless works. COSA believes that the universal language of classical music encompasses human emotion, edifies the spirit, and promotes understanding of the world. COSA’s vision is to bring a new, shared experience of international classical music to listeners of all ages, backgrounds, and aspirations.
Is COSA a non-profit organization? Yes, it is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.
Is it affiliated with the San Antonio Symphony? No, it is a separate organization in its entirety, including musicians, although a few will likely perform with COSA. The musical programming will also be different and performed around the Symphony’s schedule, so as to not conflict but, rather, to bring additional music to the community.
Why is another orchestra needed in San Antonio? This is the only city in the top 10 without a secondary professional orchestra. With a metro population of almost 2 million, it is time the city is elevated culturally to other comparable cities, and the timing is ripe, with the momentum of the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts opening in 2014.
Where will COSA perform? COSA will perform at various venues throughout the community, including the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, Edgewood and Palo Alto Performing Arts Centers, hospitals, and schools.
What is the size of the orchestra? Most concerts will employ 10 to 30 musicians, but depending on the musical program, the orchestra may be augmented up to 50 musicians.
What type of audiences does COSA intend to reach? In addition to the “typical” concertgoer, COSA hopes to reach children and adults with special needs, the elderly, the underprivileged and underserved populations, as well as minorities. COSA will be for the masses without compromising the artistic quality expected by more traditional audiences.
What type of collaboration will COSA have with other arts organizations? COSA plans to integrate classical music with other art forms and work with other local organizations such as the visual arts, opera, ballet, theatre, film, literature, and lectures. COSA is leading the effort and working with the City of San Antonio to form an umbrella organization for the Arts—an Arts Council to help elevate the fine arts in San Antonio to the national level, as well as to collaborate and partner in performances.
What is the composition of the Board? Our Board is composed of a strong list of well-respected community leaders from the academic, legal, medical, cultural, educational, media, and business realms (http://www.chamberorchestrasa.net/category/board-of-directors/). COSA has over 50% minority Board representation—a first for any cultural organization in San Antonio (and representative of the city’s population); thus, there should be no misperception that this organization is for only an elite or select audience. Support from the community has been strong. Further, the balance of a younger Board has helped stimulate interest from a younger generation, one that needs to be educated now to assure the sustainability of all cultural organizations in the future. Such support by a younger generation was evident at the Board reception inaugurating COSA in November 2010.
How will COSA be funded in these difficult economic times? COSA needs only one-tenth of the Symphony’s budget to succeed at roughly $500,000 annually to start. Thus, it only takes 200 entities giving $2,500 to fulfil this budget, not including the usual sources such as grants, endowments, trusts, public funding, corporate, and individual support that will easily reach $1MM annually. This budget is very realistic and sustainable. COSA has already had two pre-season performances that were met with great success and which continue to generate contributions.
What economic impact will this have in the City of San Antonio? To quote Michael Kaiser, President of the Kennedy Center in DC: “Political leaders [should know] that almost 6 million Americans are employed in the arts, that we are a main motivator of tourism and that we generate billions of dollars of economic activity. We are not just an effete interest group serving the elite. We are a potent sector of the economy in virtually every community, providing service to all Americans. Arts organizations can help build greater appreciation for our field by doing a better job of institutional marketing. If the work we did in our communities was more visible, it would be harder for political leaders to dismiss it.” Gov. Rick Perry’s speech at the Tobin Center on December 15, 2010 mentioned that Texas lost Boeing to Chicago because the cultural level was stronger there than in Texas—that was what was learned months later. Let San Antonio not miss future business opportunities! It’s time for our cultural level to compete with larger cities; after all, we are the 7th largest city in America!
How will this help the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts?
For the Tobin Center to succeed, it will need to be leased as many nights as possible by as many organizations as possible. COSA is a major organization and plans to have a handful of concerts per season at the Tobin Center, thereby contributing to its success and sustainability.
How does the Tobin Endowment feel about another orchestra? The Tobin Endowment, on its own initiative, underwrote the reception last November 9, 2010, to honor COSA’s inaugural Board of Directors. The attendance at the event was “standing-room only” and crowded beyond expectation with much energy and support. The Tobin Endowment continues to support COSA.
Does the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio have the City’s support? Yes, COSA met with the Mayor and his Chief of Staff and received an endorsement from the City.
What is COSA doing to enhance the cultural landscape of San Antonio? COSA is leading the effort to form an umbrella cultural arts organization that will bring the cultural community together. This Arts Council has been endorsed by the Mayor and will “turn it over to the City” once the organizational structure and membership are in place. COSA feels that a collaborative Arts Council comprised of fine arts organizations, such as the symphony, opera, ballet, museums, theatres, and universities, can only help strengthen the visibility of San Antonio’s cultural scene to a level that not only benefits each organization but also provides a significant economic impact to this community, such as that seen in other large cities. By providing a vehicle to strengthen the fine arts, this Arts Council will have a strong economic impact on the City. COSA’s partnering with the City of San Antonio has helped release the synergistic energies of collaboration among the fine arts organizations, thereby increasing the success of each organization, as well as leading the way in the elevation of the fine arts in our community.