Thursday, 30 May 2024 14:38

SPAC Reflects on Successful 2023 Season, More Than $100K in Operating Reserves; Announces Freihofer’s Baking Co. Partnership with Jazz Fest to Conclude This Year

View from the back of the stage at Saratoga Performing Arts Center just prior to the start of the Farm Aid concert in September, 2013. Photo by Thomas Dimopoulos. View from the back of the stage at Saratoga Performing Arts Center just prior to the start of the Farm Aid concert in September, 2013. Photo by Thomas Dimopoulos.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – At its annual meeting on May 16, 2024, leadership and staff of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center reflected upon the successful 2023 season and looked ahead to the upcoming 2024 summer season. 

In addition to welcoming back resident companies New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, SPAC will also continue to grow its year-round programming and educational outreach. 

“SPAC has been transformed, while staying true to its identity as the long-time summer home of New York City Ballet and the great Philadelphia Orchestra,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president & CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center at the Annual Meeting. 

Sobol, who completed her seventh year at SPAC in October 2023 added, “Over the course of these seven years, we have expanded our season into all 12 months of the year, exponentially grown our education program, and enlarged and deepened our sense of purpose to serve art, artists, our community, and to be agents of change for a more harmonious world.” 

The organization also announced its 27-year relationship with Freihofer’s Baking Co. supporting the Saratoga Jazz Festival will be coming to an end after this year. 

“It is with sadness, but also deep gratitude, that we share that our treasured partnership will come to an end following the 2024 Festival,” Sobol said. The bakery and its parent company Bimbo Bakeries USA have committed more than $2 million in sponsorship over the course of its 27 years of support. “We are firmly committed to honoring the legacy that we have built together, while also looking forward to the festival’s vibrant future, which will continue to embrace community, connections and great live music.”

 The Saratoga Jazz Festival, now in its 47th year, is one of the largest, most prestigious, and longest consecutive running jazz music events in North America.

This year’s festival takes place June 29 & 30 and features two stages during the course of the two-day event with 22 artists, Norah Jones, Stanley Clarke, and Lake Street Dive, among them. 

In all, the 2024 summer season will span three months, with 28 performances, 21 artists and groups making their SPAC debut, and nine SPAC premieres.

Closing the summer season on Aug. 25 is Beethoven for Three with Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma with special guest Antoine Tamestit. Proceeds from this performance will go toward establishing a programming fund for the Spa Little Theater, SPAC’s year-round performance home. 

Since taking over the operations of Spa Little Theater in 2022, SPAC has presented more than 50 public and private events in the theater and welcomed more than 17,000 guests, with 34% of the audiences attending Spa Little Theater events being new to SPAC.

A 2023 economic impact analysis, commissioned by Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency and performed by Camoin Associate, reported that SPAC annually contributes $105 million in economic impact to the region.

“The economic health of our region is vitally important and we are committed to growing our already significant impact year over year. One of the ways we plan to expand this reach is through cultural tourism,” Sobol said. 

SPAC ended the year with approximately $100,000 in operating reserves - attributed to fundraising efforts supported by members, the Board of Directors and the general public. The reserves will be used to help SPAC navigate the challenging 2024 season ahead. 

SPAC administration and the board of directors thanked Susan L. Dake who completed her term as the board chair. The board welcomed Charlie Wait, Jr. as the new chairman of the board and Will Aldrich and Lisa Vollendorf, Ph.D. as new board members.

2024 Summer Residency Dates at Saratoga Performing Arts Center include: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, June 16 – Aug. 18 at Spa Little Theater, the New York City Ballet from July 9-13, and The Philadelphia Orchestra July 31- Aug. 17. 

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