At our August 29 rehearsal, we made an exciting announcement: The Moorpark Symphony Orchestra is now a 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Non-Profit recognized by the IRS and State of California!!
There were quite a few questions after the presentation that need to be addressed:
1) Yes! We are a completely separate entity from the college, operating as a nonprofit corporation. Keeping up the tradition of fine community orchestras, the Moorpark Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra founded by musicians, for musicians.
What does this mean for us? We now have complete control over our own programming, hiring, and business practice.
We are governed by a Board of Directors currently consisting of 8 members, and have a set of By-Laws. We are working on our Mission Statement and Operating Guidelines.
2) Why will we be asked to pay membership dues? Currently, community members are paying high a fee to play at the college. The new Moorpark Symphony Orchestra's operating costs will permit us to ask for less than half of that amount for an entire season.
Why do we need membership dues? Great question. In Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, most community ensembles ask their members to pay some sort of membership dues. This accomplishes two things for the orchestra: 1) it allows the orchestra to have a flow of income not dependent purely on soliciting donations; and 2) it is a gesture through which each musician performing on stage shows that they are committed to the ensemble and it's success.
This does not mean "pay to play." Please see #6 below, since we will hold our musicians to a very high standard to remain in the ensemble.
3) What happens to the college students who play in the orchestra now? Lucky for them, the "Symphony Orchestra Class MUS23" will continue uninterrupted. As long as they continue to enroll in the course, they will be in orchestra. What they will not be doing is performing with the Moorpark Symphony Orchestra unless they take an audition to join like any other community musician. Sometimes, a call may be placed with the college orchestra to find qualified students to fill vacancies within MSO. Otherwise, students can expect that the experience they've been having for the last 29 years with the cooperation between MSO and the college will end after our next concert.
4) Current plan is to hold 4-6 rehearsals prior to each concert, of which there will be between two and four each season. This will require musicians to prepare their parts before arriving at the first rehearsal, and will ask a much higher quality of performance from all involved. PDF copies of your parts, when possible, will still be posted here on the website for your convenience.
5) Why can't we just stay at the college? We have been negotiating a cooperative agreement with the college for several months, and it appears we are getting close to reaching an agreement.
6) Why will there be auditions? Those musicians who are participating in the November 2019 concert are automatically members of the new orchestra as founding members. The only people who will have to audition are students wishing to fill a vacant seat and community musicians, who do not have a recommendation by a current orchestra member, who wish to join. Otherwise, if you're in the orchestra now, you're in the new orchestra when it starts up in January. Full Audition Requirements will be on file at the MSO office for reference when necessary.
Please Know: "The Orchestra" is not ending! We are an official, independent organization. What is "ending" is the combined Moorpark Symphony Orchestra and college orchestra class. Both will continue into the future, but along separate paths.
We are very excited for this new chapter in the life of the Moorpark Symphony Orchestra. Twenty Nine seasons represents a labor of love for all involved, and we, your Board of Directors, did not want to see it end.
You can approach any member of the Board with your questions/concerns/suggestions, and of course we are looking for volunteers to serve on the various committees that will be formed.