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How We Put Donations to Work for our Community

By Barry Kempton

As I finish up signing a large pile of letters to generous donors asking them to renew their gifts to the Schubert Club’s annual fund, I’ve been reflecting on how fortunate we are to have patrons who support our programs.  It’s an appropriate moment to be grateful, having just celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday! 

Did you know that the revenue the Schubert Club earns from ticket sales covers just less than 30% of our expenditure?  Our endowment funds with gifts to the Schubert invested over many past decades generates a further 25% of the funds needed to run the organization.  The remaining 45% of revenue comes from contributions and grants – from the State, the City of Saint Paul, foundations, corporations and most significantly, from individuals.

Here’s a brief summary of what those contributions allow us to do:

  • Keep our ticket prices affordable. This current season, a subscriber to the International Artist Series pays between $20 and $51 for their seat – even to hear Renée Fleming in recital!
  • Offer 24 free lunchtime concerts on Thursdays in Courtroom 317 at Landmark Center.
  • Present free family concerts in St Anthony Park as part of Music in the Park Series; and our Azure family concerts (for families with kids on the autism spectrum) are also free.
  • Maintain free entry to our Schubert Club Museum. Last year we had about 8,000 visitors, many of them school groups.  Among the exhibits you can currently see – in some cases even play – are keyboards from 4 different centuries (including an 1830 Kisting piano once played by Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn and an 1878 Bechstein played by Liszt, Brahms and Mahler); original handwritten letters by composers such as Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin; and a room dedicated to instruments of the brass family including some visitors can try out.
  • Support student musicians with over $50,000 of scholarships.
  • Bring musical teaching artists to a number of after-school programs in Saint Paul and surrounding neighborhoods at no cost through our new KidsJam program (photo above).
  • Provide the Project CHEER program for up to 100 kids in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood with affordable piano and guitar lessons in collaboration with the Hallie Q. Brown Center.
  • Co-sponsor a jazz piano workshop day for advanced and beginner student jazz pianists.

Just under half the number of people who attend Schubert Club events, education programs and our Museum do so without charge.  It is a wonderful way to make sure that music is accessible to all in the community who wish to participate.

So a warm and sincere thank you to all our contributors.  Whether your gift is a few dollars or many thousands of dollars, every donation makes a difference in our community.