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A&E >  Music

Spokane Symphony receives federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

UPDATED: Thu., July 1, 2021

Spokane Symphony executive director Jeff vom Saal is thrilled to be bringing the orchestra and audience back together.  (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Symphony executive director Jeff vom Saal is thrilled to be bringing the orchestra and audience back together. (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)

Resurrection Bay is where Jeff vom Saal was vacationing when he received word that his Spokane Symphony Society finally received its federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. It couldn’t have been more appropriate since the Spokane Symphony is rising.

The check for $899,151.77, along with $700,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program, brings the total the symphony is receiving to $1.6 million. “The grant lifted a cloud hanging over us,” vom Saal said while calling from Anchorage.

Vom Saal, the executive director of the Spokane Symphony, can start hiring staff. “We desperately need to do that, and now with the funds we’ve received, we can go ahead and fill voids.” The symphony is attempting to fill a number of positions such as director of development, box office manager and an orchestra librarian.

“We have those key positions we need to take care of, and we have to hire an event crew,” vom Saal said. “Before the pandemic, we had 300 or so people working for us. We’re getting back and turning the corner on this. We’re fortunate since the timing is right.”

Vom Saal is being literal since the symphony’s fiscal year starts every July 1, and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant landed on Monday. “Work for us starts tomorrow (July 1),” Vom Saal said. “All of this is great for us, and it’s great for the Spokane community. This will help us get ready for performances.”

Vom Saal and company are preparing for three summer concerts at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars on July 28, Brick West Brewing Co. on Aug. 11 and Beacon Hill Catering & Events on Aug. 25. The three concerts are all on Wednesdays and begin at 7 p.m.

“We’re very excited about the future for so many reasons,” vom Saal said. “First off, after all we’ve been through, we should feel good about where we are now. To have made it through such an unprecedented time is amazing. None of us took a course in college to understand how to deal with this (pandemic).

“The other thing is that we have a sense of hope for the future. We’re anxious to open the doors and work hard. It’s awesome. We’re all excited, and we have so much hope for what tomorrow brings.”

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