Johnson City Symphony Orchestra making winter push to have its musicians 'adopted'

Jonathan Roberts • Nov 24, 2019 at 8:09 PM

For decades, the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra has prided itself on being part of the community in Northeast Tennessee, and few things better illustrate that than the orchestra’s “Adopt-A-Musician” program. 

“We’ve had an ‘Adopt-A-Musician’ program for quite a few years, and it was established primarily to enhance the relationship potential between the musicians and the patrons,” said board member and Program Director Betty Moore. “Usually when you go to a concert you see the musicians up there and you might recognize their faces but that’s it.” 

So far this season, more than 40 patrons have adopted a musician, with just over half of the orchestra still looking to be adopted. 

“It just allows the patrons more access to the musicians and allows them to feel a little bit a part of the symphony itself,” said JCSO General Manager Katie Hallenbeck. 

And aside from offsetting some of the cost associated with putting on a season of the symphony, the program also serves as a morale boost for the musicians themselves, who are able to truly see how much the community supports them individually and the symphony as a whole. 

“Basically it’s a means of not only supporting the symphony, but it shows a personal appreciation to the musicians,” Moore said. “And that makes them feel appreciated and wanted.” 

Hallenbeck, meanwhile, called it “a lot of positive morale” for the musicians, adding that it “feels nice” to see so many musicians being adopted. 

“It nice that the patrons are not just coming to the concerts, but showing that they care about the musicians,” Hallenbeck said. “They really have a tie to the orchestra itself and the members — it’s not just the symphony, it’s the individuals, and that’s neat to see.” 

While the average cost for a musician over a full season is around $320, adoptions are only $200. For those who make an adoption, the orchestra will hold a reception for both the patrons and the musicians in February.

For more information on the symphony or the program, visit www.jcsymphony.com. 

“Anyone who is still on the fence, it’s not too late to adopt,” Moore said. “You can adopt someone right up to a week before our reception ceremony.”