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Gordon Lightfoot, Reggae Fest,
Manhattan Transfer,
“just the beginning”: Horton

Editor’s Note: Alan Horton is the
Sedona Cultural Park’s Acting Director.

Programming is hard. So is fundraising. And therein we find the chicken and egg dilemma facing the Sedona Cultural Park in 2002.

On one hand, we need to complete (or largely complete) our season programming for this summer so we can ask you all to support our efforts. On the other hand, programming costs money - a lot of money. Money we have to pay out now, this spring, before the season begins. Advances to artists and bands, booking fees, season marketing efforts, equipment repair and purchase - all of this requires a lot of capital. So we need support from our community in order to program a season. There’s the dilemma. Chicken and egg.

Later on (a few years from now), this will be less of a problem for the Park. Our mid- and long-term planning allows for the development of significant cash reserves that will enable us to invest in programming costs early, prior to our fundraising efforts. Cash reserves will allow us to announce the majority of our summer season in the winter and spend the spring using that season as a basis for fundraising. We will come to you, our community, and ask you to support something tangible - an actual season of cultural events at the Park. Later on - in 2003 and 2004 and 2005 - when we ask you to help, you will. You’ll know our season in advance and you’ll trust the Park to deliver on its promises, because it will have done so in prior years. Later on, this will get easier.

But it’s not “later on” now. In 2002, as we prepare for the third season at the Park, we still have a lot to prove. This is still a new venue. While we have done well the first two years - very well, in my opinion - we have yet to deliver as broad and diverse a season as some would like. There’s a good reason for this. As I stated above, programming is hard - difficult and expensive. It takes time to develop a venue’s reputation, to develop programming partnerships and relationships with talent, to develop a programming “war chest.” We will be working on this for years to come. But for 2002, thanks to the good foundation of the past couple of years, we can take a big step forward.

In the final analysis, we know that the chicken has to be programming, and fundraising the egg. Through some creative partnerships, tough negotiating and some strategic risk-taking, we’re planning a great season for 2002. We won’t be able to announce this fully until late March. That’s later than we’d like, but reality for this year.

Programming is hard. So is fundraising. And therein we find the chicken and egg dilemma facing the Sedona Cultural Park in 2002.

On one hand, we need to complete (or largely complete) our season programming for this summer so we can ask you all to support our efforts. On the other hand, programming costs money - a lot of money. Money we have to pay out now, this spring, before the season begins. Advances to artists and bands, booking fees, season marketing efforts, equipment repair and purchase - all of this requires a lot of capital. So we need support from our community in order to program a season. There’s the dilemma. Chicken and egg.

Later on (a few years from now), this will be less of a problem for the Park. Our mid- and long-term planning allows for the development of significant cash reserves that will enable us to invest in programming costs early, prior to our fundraising efforts. Cash reserves will allow us to announce the majority of our summer season in the winter and spend the spring using that season as a basis for fundraising. We will come to you, our community, and ask you to support something tangible - an actual season of cultural events at the Park. Later on - in 2003 and 2004 and 2005 - when we ask you to help, you will. You’ll know our season in advance and you’ll trust the Park to deliver on its promises, because it will have done so in prior years. Later on, this will get easier.

But it’s not “later on” now. In 2002, as we prepare for the third season at the Park, we still have a lot to prove. This is still a new venue. While we have done well the first two years - very well, in my opinion - we have yet to deliver as broad and diverse a season as some would like. There’s a good reason for this. As I stated above, programming is hard - difficult and expensive. It takes time to develop a venue’s reputation, to develop programming partnerships and relationships with talent, to develop a programming “war chest.” We will be working on this for years to come. But for 2002, thanks to the good foundation of the past couple of years, we can take a big step forward.

In the final analysis, we know that the chicken has to be programming, and fundraising the egg. Through some creative partnerships, tough negotiating and some strategic risk-taking, we’re planning a great season for 2002. We won’t be able to announce this fully until late March. That’s later than we’d like, but reality for this year.

Certainly we will continue the same great festival and classical music programming from the past two years, including Jazz on the Rocks, Phoenix Symphony, Shakespeare Sedona, EcoFest, Flagstaff Symphony, and the Family Fun Fourth. We’ve added some more festival and community activity as well, including a new Jazz on the Rocks event to kick off the season in May (the Hot Latin JazzFest), a Sedona Centennial celebration on June 15, the Bob Marley Festival July 6 and 7, and the Red Rocks Music Festival in September (a new classical music program).

But our most exciting addition will be a concert series, featuring six to eight major musical talents. We have already confirmed great vocal jazz band Manhattan Transfer in June, and one of the great folk singer/songwriters of the past 30 years, Gordon Lightfoot, in August. And that’s just the beginning. The rest of the concert series will be announced soon, as contracts are completed. And we’ll continue to add other events throughout the summer, possibly including some dance and other cultural programming. Already we plan on 25-30 event days this year, about twice what we managed for 2001. By 2003, we hope to program at least one event every week from the first of May to the end of October. In a few weeks, everyone in Sedona will receive our season announcement, along with an opportunity to support the good work of the Park. I hope all of you will take time to consider what the Park means to you and to Sedona, and give accordingly. After all, the Park will always need your help - each year, every year. You’ve all done a great job getting it started, but that’s just the beginning.

The Park will continue to require support from the community, from $25 memberships to major gifts in support of our building efforts. We’ll keep working to live up to your expectations and to the mission and vision of the Park. We hope you’ll keep supporting us with your patronage and your contributions. Thanks, Sedona, for all you’ve done so far, and for all you’ll do in the future. And look forward to more great news from the Park very soon.

P.S. - In case you haven’t heard, we’re busy building real, flushing restrooms at the Park in time for our season opener. Enough for up to 3,500 patrons! That will cover almost every event we have at the Park this year (we’ll still have to supplement with Port-a-Johns a few times)!

P.P.S. - We’re also offering some great “naming” opportunities for the restrooms. For only $2,500, you can join other community leaders as a member of the Porcelain Circle. Imagine a plaque proudly displayed in the bathroom of your choice, “This toilet made possible through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Good Sedona Citizen.” (Urinals and lavatories are also available - contact the Park office for details.) Let’s keep those toilets     flushing!

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