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The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will reduce the number of Neighborhood Series venues and concerts starting in the 2024.25 season.

As we approach the fourth anniversary of our first pandemic concert cancellations of March 2020, we in the performing arts industry continue to face significant and unprecedented economic challenges. As a non-profit organization, we are not immune to these challenges — we have not yet returned to pre-pandemic audience attendance numbers and the generous philanthropy we rely on to operate has steadily declined over the last few years as inflation and the cost of putting on concerts has simultaneously risen. While we remain committed to our mission to make music accessible to everyone in our community, we must take proactive measures to adjust how we operate so that we will be able to continue sharing the music we love with as many people as possible for years to come. Following many months of careful thought and analysis, we believe we have found a sustainable path forward that allows us to do this.

We are committed to serving our community, by providing economic and geographic access to a world-class chamber orchestra right here in the Twin Cities. We are committed to making SPCO concerts accessible and inclusive experiences where we can share artistry from Minnesota and beyond at the highest level with as many people as possible. Our mission is not changing.

Beginning in the 2024.25 season, the SPCO will reduce the number of Neighborhood Series venues and number of overall annual concerts. We will no longer be performing at Benson Great Hall at Bethel College in Arden Hills, Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater and Wayzata Community Church in Wayzata. In addition, the number of concerts at Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ will be reduced to four per season. While this represents a reduction in concert activity and performance venues, as of the 2024.25 season, the SPCO will still be performing approximately 82 concerts in nine venues across the Twin Cities, with seats for over 89,000 audience members.

The SPCO has a long history of financial discipline while addressing economic/industry challenges, and we have balanced our budget 27 out of the last 29 years. We believe this reduction in venues and concerts, along with initiatives to increase the size of the audience through our Concert Membership program and increase philanthropic giving, will ensure that the SPCO remains financially healthy and able to provide our community with a world-class orchestra for years to come.

We are saddened that we will no longer be performing at venues that have been near and dear to our audiences, musicians, and staff for many years. In making these changes we have done our best to take great care in maintaining geographical accessibility throughout the Twin Cities Metropolitan area with our remaining Neighborhood Series venues, while also remaining at venues that can accommodate our current audience and will allow for significant growth in the future.

We hope those who attend the venues where we will no longer be performing will be able to attend concerts at one of our remaining Neighborhood Series venues. To help ease that transition, we are extending a free trial Concert Membership through June 2024 for those only attending venues where we will no longer be performing. The SPCO Concert Membership will give you access to free tickets at all upcoming SPCO concerts for the rest of this season, and we hope you’ll use it to explore our other venues. Visit the SPCO’s Concert Membership FAQ page for more information about the program. We remain committed to serving our community, which includes everyone who attends venues affected by these changes, and we hope that this offer will create opportunities to continue to experience the transformational performances of the SPCO.

We’ve made suggestions for another nearby Neighborhood Series venue below:

Benson Great Hall
If you’ve previously attended Benson Great Hall at Bethel College in Arden Hills, we recommend trying out Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi. Located north of the 694/36 interchange, Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church provides free parking and is located centrally for those living in the north and east metro areas.

Upcoming performances:
Richard Egarr Plays Handel and Corelli — Sunday, February 25, 3pm
Julie Albers Plays Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D — Sunday, May 19, 3pm

Learn more about this venue

Trinity Lutheran Church
If you’ve previously attended Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, we recommend trying out Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi. Located north of the 694/36 interchange, Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church provides free parking and is located centrally for those living in the north and east metro areas.

Upcoming performances:
Richard Egarr Plays Handel and Corelli — Sunday, February 25, 3pm
Julie Albers Plays Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D — Sunday, May 19, 3pm

Learn more about this venue

Wayzata Community Church
If you’ve previously attended Wayzata Community Church in Wayzata, we recommend trying out Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie. Located north of the 494/212 interchange, Wooddale Church provides free parking and is located centrally for those living in the South and West metro areas.

Upcoming performances:
Richard Egarr Plays Handel and Corelli — Friday, February 23, 11am and 7pm
Haydn’s Surprise Symphony — Friday, April 19, 11am and 7pm

Learn more about this venue

We will also be hosting town hall meetings preceding concerts at Benson Great Hall, the Ordway, Trinity Lutheran Church, and Wayzata Community Church to give audiences a chance to hear from the SPCO’s leadership and time to ask questions. The town halls will take place at the following times and locations:

Trinity Lutheran Church — Thursday, March 14, 6:00pm
Benson Great Hall — Sunday, March 17, 1:00pm
Wayzata Community Church — Friday, March 22, 6:00pm
Ordway Concert Hall — Friday, April 5, 10:00am
Ordway Concert Hall — Saturday, April 6, 6:00pm
Ordway Concert Hall — Sunday, April 7, 1:00pm