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June 24, 2013

Symphony finds welcoming home in Manchester

The Cape Ann Symphony closed its 61st season recently on a high note, having found a continued enthusiastic audience at its new venue at the auditorium of the Manchester Essex Regional High School.

The board of directors will now prepare to embark on the 62nd season in the fall, with both new leadership and plans to continue its concerts in Manchester, where the symphony landed after deteriorating conditions forced the organization from its former home at the former Fuller School building in Gloucester.

Gloucester photographer David Stotzer, who now serves as the board president, said the symphony weathered the major change well, and there is optimism for the years ahead.

For one thing, ticket sales also are going up.

“Every concert we get new people, and we’re developing a Manchester audience,” said Stotzer, who has served on the board for the past seven years. “Plus the orchestra is better than it’s ever been and it remains a jewel of Cape Ann’s cultural community.”

Stotzer said the Manchester community has made the symphony feel very welcome in its new home.

”We are working hard to develop a younger audience base,” he said, “because that is the future of the symphony.”

The symphony remains steadfast in its efforts to bring classical music and the experience of a live symphony to local children.

Pamela Burton, who returned to serve on the symphony board as vice president of marketing, has that goal as a top priority. She moved back to Cape Ann after living several years in California.

In 2009, she led a project that had that very mission in mind. That project was the world premiere of Virginia Lee Burton’s “Katy and the Big Snow” by Gloucester composer Robert Bradshaw, which was commissioned by the symphony as part of its youth outreach initiative. The original musical work was inspired by the long-standing children’s book of the same name, written by the noted Gloucester children’s author, Virginia Lee Burton.

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