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Amarillo Symphony taking over Greater Southwest Music Festival

On Monday, the Amarillo Symphony agreed to take over the non-profit organization that organizes the annual Greater Southwest Music Festival.

"The Amarillo Symphony is in a strong financial position to absorb the Greater Southwest Music Festival program. In its most recently completed fiscal year, the Symphony sold over 86 percent of all available tickets to its season programming and reached 10,000 students through its education and community engagement initiatives."

"I am so grateful for the philanthropic support this community has invested in the Amarillo Symphony over our 93 years of existence. It has allowed us to take this important step on firm footing," Amarillo Symphony Board President Laura Street said.

The GSWMF's current financial situation was one of the leading causes of the program being absorbed by the Amarillo Symphony.

"Leaders of the two organizations have discussed for months the possibility of a merger, a move prompted by GSWMF's precarious financial situation but one that centers on their mutual missions to deliver high quality music education experiences for students in our region.

"Through this agreement, the Symphony will be looking to strengthen the GSWMF and sustain is as a symbol of excellence, attract new visitors to our city, and earn positive attention for our region throughout the state and beyond," Amarillo Symphony Executive Director Corey Cowart said.

"For 47 years we have been able to serve musical organizations and students in a 5-state area through competition, but our recent financial struggles have led us to join with the Amarillo Symphony so that we can continue to serve for many years to come.

"The GSWMF is solvent in terms of operating the Music Festival each May, but overhead expenses during the six months when entry fees are not being collected were too strong a drain on the reserves from the previous Festival.

"In contrast, the Amarillo Symphony brings in-house fundraising professionals, active year-round, who have increased contributed revenue over 60 percent in recent years," GSWMF President Jim Hutson said.

Every May, more than 8,000 student musicians perform at the Amarillo Civic Center and Amarillo College Washington Street Campus in the annual Greater Southwest Music Festival.

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