Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) announced today (October 11), plans for its 2019 season. Many of SPAC’s events, educational campaigns and business collaborations from 2018 were so successful that the world-class venue is planning on continuing or even expanding on them. “This past season we furthered many of our goals to increase accessibility to the arts and to build a bridge between the community, other cultural partners and our campus,” says Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC’s President and CEO.
That bridge Sobol’s talking about is represented in SPAC’s audience development over the 2018 season. Audience attendance for this year’s classical season exceeded projections: There was a 31 percent increase in first-time ticket buyers, perhaps in part due to a new approach of incentivizing multiple ticket purchases. This year also marked the first time in its 52-year residency that the Philadelphia Orchestra had some of its performances at SPAC aired on public radio station WRTI in the orchestra’s home-city of Philadelphia through a new partnership between WRTI and WMHT here in Upstate New York. These broadcasts, which included four live performances, reached a projected listenership of 25,000 per concert. SPAC’s popular free education programs also reached 15,000 more students than last year, with 40 more classes and events, as well as visits to an additional 20 schools.
A lot of these successes can be traced back directly to Sobol herself, whose career and connections in the music industry have helped foster an even deeper relationship between the city of Saratoga and the arts. To that point, Sobol was recently named one of the most powerful women in US music by prominent classical music blogger and former journalist Norman Lebrecht.
But these programs are only a small portion of what SPAC is planning on continuing or adding to next year. “Looking ahead to 2019, we will continue to present world-class performances and experiences, forging even deeper ties with business and cultural partners, increasing community engagement, expanding outreach through our education programs, as well as making major developments in the improvement of our infrastructure,” says Sobol.
Today, SPAC’s Board of Directors announced an ambitious 2019 classical season, which will include seven performances by the New York City Ballet from July 16 – 20, and 12 performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra from July 31 – August 17, in addition to The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center returning to the Spa Little Theater from August 4 – August 20. And if you were a fan of SPAC’s more intimate special concert series—SPAC on Stage, Live at the Jazz Bar or Caffè Lena @ SPAC—then you’ll be pleased to learn that all three are returning for the 2019 season. This is all in addition to a $1.75 million initiative from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to upgrade SPAC’s facilities, including resurfacing ramps and railings in the amphitheater and installing more energy efficient lighting throughout the grounds, among other improvements. The renovations are expected to be completed in advance of next year’s season.
SPAC’s 2019 season is already shaping up to be a great one, but don’t forget that the 2018 season isn’t quite over yet. There are still a number of events to enjoy, including SPAC’s popular fundraisers such as the Annual Lecture Luncheon featuring New York Times-bestselling author Will Schwalbe on October 18, its Live at the Jazz Bar: Latin Night! on November 1 and the Nutcracker Tea on November 18. Another sure-to-be popular SPAC event will feature the Orchestra of St. Luke’s performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos at Bethesda Church on December 15.