Arts and Entertainment

Symphony looks for high note at auction

— image credit:
Sequim Gazette

The Port Angeles Symphony has brought class through classical music to the North Olympic Peninsula since 1932.

As the economy haunts residents’ minds, symphony volunteers and staff feel that if the annual auction on Feb. 27 struggles, the symphony could see cutbacks in basic operations and rising ticket prices.

“Donations to the orchestra are at a 10-year low, so having a successful auction is critical to the financial stability of the orchestra,” said Mark Wendeborn, its executive director.

The auction makes up about 10 percent of the symphony’s annual budget. It experienced a significant decline from $59,594 in 2008 to $39,662 in 2009.

This year’s goal is $50,000. All money earned from the auction goes to general operating expenses.

Wendeborn said some people might not know where money goes from tickets and special concerts.

“Cost of music is very expensive,” he said.

“We have to pay for royalties, advertising, printing facilities, music, guest soloists and administrative costs.”

Chamber orchestra and full symphony concert ticket sales provide about half of the annual budget.

“We’re right at industry standard,” Wendeborn said.

“You can’t charge enough to cover all the expenses from ticket prices, (but) our ticket prices are affordable.”

About 20 percent of the budget comes from fundraising by volunteers.

Wendeborn and symphony board members write letters to potential and past donors and apply for grants.

Localized auction
This year’s symphony auction is at the SunLand Country Club, 109 Hilltop Drive, Sequim.

Wendeborn said almost 50 percent of symphony-goers are from Sequim and that the auction is an opportunity for local listeners to contribute and take in an evening of personal classical music.

Throughout the evening, string players from Port Angeles High School will play.

The silent and live auctions offer unique items that similar events might not offer. In the past, the most popular auction items were gourmet meals with live music from a duo, trio or quartet, Wendeborn said. 

Among the hundreds of silent and live auction items are:
• Seven-day cruise to Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico or Canada/New England
• Trip to New Orleans’ French Quarter
• African photo safari
• Gourmet dinners
• Flight over the Olympic Mountains
• Glass-blowing lessons
• Homemade breads, pies and jams
• Load of horse manure and wood
• Barrel of fine wines
• Gift certificates

Additional offerings
A rare opportunity presents itself through a golden ticket raffle.

Participants pay $50 for a ticket and a chance for first pick of any live auction item before the event. Only 100 raffle tickets are being sold. It isn’t necessary to be present to win but ticket buyers who don’t attend must let Wendeborn know their item choice by Feb. 22, so if they win, it can be withdrawn from the auction.

The auction begins at 6 p.m. with Hawaiian Island-theme food from Michael’s Kamehameha Feast, featuring mahi mahi, teriyaki beef, hulie hulie chicken, Kalua pork or any of these prepared as a vegetarian dish.

Wine will be served throughout the evening.

Shuttle transportation from Sunland Windermere Real Estate, 137 Fairway Drive, will be provided to the auction.

For reservations, information or raffle tickets, contact Wendeborn at 457-5579 or visit

Reach Matthew Nash at

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