This week, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra announced that it received an anonymous gift of $1 million toward renovations to the Plaza Live Theatre, bringing the total raised to date to $3.1 million. The Anonymous donor joins other philanthropists Marc and Sharon Hagle, who made a $750,000 pledge in early 2011, Bryce West, who made a $500,000 gift in 2013 and Kenneth & Ann Hicks Murrah, who recently pledged $500,000 toward the project.
“Our generous and selfless anonymous donor has proven once again, at this time of year, that the joy is in the giving, not receiving,” said Orlando Philharmonic Executive Director David Schillhammer. “On behalf of the Orlando Philharmonic family, I thank Anonymous for this special holiday surprise, validating the Plaza Theater as the home for the Philharmonic and all kinds of live music. I hope that others will follow the lead, share the passion for this cause, and make whatever gift is appropriate for their circumstance.”
Board President Michael Elsberry joined in appreciation. “The Orlando Philharmonic is blessed with generous patrons who understand and appreciate the importance of our institution to this community,” he said. “This gift will help us to transform the Plaza into the administrative, performance and educational hub for our musicians, and those who support and appreciate them: our patrons and supporters. All of us thank the donor for this special gift.”
Schillhammer says the orchestra now has enough funds begin phase I of renovations, which will likely include new seats for the main hall and renovations to the rehearsal hall, administrative offices and backstage areas, beginning this spring. These initial renovations could be done without affecting the Plaza’s current schedule of events. The scope and timing of additional renovations will depend on the progress of the orchestra’s capital campaign. The Philharmonic is currently working with Atlanta architecture firm Lyman Davidson Dooley, Inc., to seek contractor bids.
The Philharmonic purchased The Plaza Live Theatre and the business in August for $3.4 million. Renovations to the building will include updates to the building’s existing lobby, theaters and exterior, as well as additions for office space, hospitality facilities, a sheet music library, dressing rooms and storage for the orchestra. Following renovations, The Plaza Live will host select Orlando Philharmonic events, and continue operating as a one of Florida’s premiere rock, pop, jazz and contemporary concert venues.
Entering its 21st season in 2013-2014, the Orlando Philharmonic is Central Florida’s resident professional orchestra, composed of talented musicians recruited from around the world. The Philharmonic inspires audiences with over 125 musical experiences annually, ranging from classical and chamber music concerts to pops performances, staged opera productions, outdoor concerts and education programs for all ages. Committed to building a sustainable future for classical music, the Philharmonic currently has a budget of $3.6 million, holds an endowment of $4 million, and has maintained a balanced budget every year of its existence. Learn more at www.OrlandoPhil.org | @OrlandoPhilOrch | Facebook.com/OrlandoPhilOrch
The Plaza Live was originally built as Orlando’s first multi-screen movie theatre in 1963. After years of passing between owners, it was given new life in the late 2000s when it was transformed into a concert venue. The Plaza Live currently hosts more than 135 rock, jazz, comedy, and contemporary music events annually, selling over 65,000 tickets per year. In 2010, it was ranked by Pollstar as one of the Top 100 Worldwide Club Venues. www.PlazaLiveOrlando.com| @PlazaLiveOrl | Facebook.com/ThePlazaTheatre