Annual Fund Drive Begins
Dear Friend of ATOS,
I am writing to you today for two reasons: first, to thank you for your financial support in the past and, second, to ask you to continue — and perhaps increase — your support this year. Why do we ask for money? The answer is very simple. Annual dues alone do not cover the costs of the wide variety of programs we undertake to promote the theatre organ and its art form both now and for many years to come. ATOS is not unique in this area; non-profit arts organizations everywhere face similar challenges in obtaining needed funding for their programs.
This year the ATOS board received 15 grant applications, ranging from $1,000 to $13,500, totaling $112,000 for such projects as refurbishing blowers, renovating keyboards, instrument restoration, rebuilding and installing new relays, and re-installations in new venues. Requests came from the U.S., and from our chapters in the U.K. and New Zealand. We are able to provide only $30,000 for these projects at this time. With your help, next year we may be able to fund more of these requests. This is a vital part of our mission to keep the theatre organ playing and visible to the general public.
The Summer Youth Adventure, initiated in 2006, is one of our most successful programs. Each year the SYA provides a dozen+ youth from ages 12 through college with interest in the theatre organ the opportunity to spend a hands-on week learning to play these magnificent instruments. Students are taught by the art form’s finest professional teachers. This program is an integral part of our investment in the future—if there aren’t any musicians to play the instrument, why preserve it? Students pay a modest tuition (some tuitions and student expenses are provided by local ATOS chapters and individuals or by special scholarships). Tuition alone does not cover all of the actual costs of the SYA experience, and gifts from people such as you help defray those expenses.
On the technical side, our Tech Experience program provides opportunities for those performing organ maintenance work to learn such skills as properly re-leathering chests, engineering wind systems, and rebuilding consoles. Like the SYA, there is a tuition charge (which doesn’t cover the total cost) and ATOS provides financial support for this endeavor.
As I write this letter, work is underway on digitizing our archives as part of our partnership with the University of Oklahoma. In addition to preserving visual and audio elements of our heritage, we expect that 10 years of the Theatre Organ Journal will be available online in the spring.
These are only a few of the projects ATOS is working on. With increased funding, we can do much more to preserve and promote theatre organs and the art form. When the Annual Fund was initiated 10 years ago, 11 per cent of the membership contributed; last year the figure was 25%. With your help, that figure will continue to rise, and more programs can be developed and supported.
You may make a contribution online by clicking on “Donate” on this page. You are welcome to direct your gift to any ATOS program of your choosing. Unrestricted gifts give us the greatest flexibility to use money where it is needed most. Your support, at any level, is greatly appreciated.
Please consider making a gift today. Your support makes a difference.
Thank you for being a part of this unique group of people who love the theatre organ!
Chair, Summer Youth Adventure