Queens Festival Orchestra

Association Inc.

Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra

107-23 71 Road Suite 240
Forest Hills, NY 11375





2017-2018 SEASON




Michele Denton                     Assistant Conductor

A MESSAGE FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR There is a need for the non-professional orchestra in each community. Hundreds of persons who studied a musical instrument as youngsters have achieved a high level of proficiency and wish to continue playing and/or improving their skills—i.e. for decades the New York City and Long Island schools have trained many student in band and orchestra instruments. The fact that as adults these people wish to spend their leisure time making music is by itself an indication that the school system’s instrumental music education has been successful. For those who reach a high level of proficiency and wish to pursue music as an avocation, there should be a music organization available to them.

As the title of John Holt’s book indicates it’s Never Too Late. Many individuals come to an instrument late in life, it comes a s a means to fulfill a lifelong urge to be creative, or to fill what seems to be a void of time as one approaches mid-life and later retirement. There is no longer the need to say, “if only I had when I was young…

The QFO/FHSO offers an invaluable service to the community at large. We do not turn anyone away from membership and encourage him or her to improve. We offer a program that I of interest and of value to both senior citizens as well as students. Music is chosen from several points of view: (A) level of difficulty to challenge and encourage without swamping, (B) orchestra member and audience interest in playing and hearing the selections. The most important factor is the feeling of accomplishment and success!

The QFO/FHSO has had players as young as 9 years and as old as 92. We have had handicapped musicians. Physical, visual, even aural problems should not be an excuse to not participate in making music. Each as brought something of value to the organization. Each enriches the other crossing the age barrier through common goals with anticipation, enthusiasm, commitment, satisfaction, and dedication. The camaraderie and mutual support push personal problems and aches and pains away for, if only, a few hours.
In recent years, articles based on gerontology studies indicate that playing a musical instrument can not only improve mental ability, but also in advancing age keep the mind young and vital. Old age maladies such as Alzheimer’s disease can be positively affected. Playing a musical instrument uses more centers of the brain than almost any other activity one can participate in during the average day.

This program has the possibility of giving more meaning to the participant’s lives than anything else they may have done in the lives!

Many symphony orchestras have been created for the past 50 years as “community” orchestras—for non-professional players. In their search for greater funding each of these amateur symphonies have been advised to become more professional, thereby turning the community player aside. Budgets as a rule become gigantic and the board of directors fundraising abilities are tax to the extreme. As a result, the failures are legion.

Organizations look to private individuals and businesses, large and small, for their funding possibilities. On a small scale this is possible. As problems occur in the larger community  (small or catastrophic) many sources of financial aid have given their art monies to agencies, organization, or consortiums to distribute these funds elsewhere which cut into the fundraising prospects of the smaller, less able arts organizations. When grants are considered, whether they come from the Federal, State, County, or City sources, or from the Consortiums or Co-sponsorships, they are for special projects above and beyond the fiscal budget, but not for general fiscal maintenance. This puts the small groups at a disadvantage because extra projects and programs are a physical, financial, and programming drain on all the resources of the group. For the performing group, the project may be beyond the technical abilities of the group and the talents of the individual members. Financially, a grant never pays the full amount of the project putting the organization deeper into debt. Non-profit groups need basic fiscal funding before special projects should be considered.

The AFO/FHSO offers a service to the community at large. We do not turn anyone away from membership and encourage them to improve. As our charter states, we are educational. We offer a program that is of interest and of value to both senior citizens as well as students. This program is enjoyed by the musicians in the orchestra as well as by the community of senior citizens and students who come as an audience. We work ten weeks for each of three concerts a year from Labor Day to early June. Extra concerts with less than then preparations is not feasible. Forcing us to hire more musicians for a concert only causes resentment and ill feeling among the regular unpaid players. Requiring the organization to play more difficult or newly composed music places a burden on the musical tastes of the players and audience. In the long run, all these funding ideas do not improve the symphony and effectively build the membership. Budget m maintenance is the most important item to be faced by the organization. A program which will not be discussed here for lack of space but which will cost a large among of money and long term funding commitment is being worked on. It will further our educational service and stabilize our musical product.

In the meantime, the utmost question to be faced is, how can we maintain our basic budgetary needs? Is there financial aid, grants, gifts for budget maintenance from Federal, State, County, and City sources as well as foundations, businesses, and private individuals for budget maintenance to ensure that this type of organization can continue to serve the community or musicians who are looking for a symphony to play in and the local public who wants to hear that symphony of friends play.



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