Open letter on LASO rental fees

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By The Staff

I would like to share with the community the following concerns that I have sent in a letter to the Los Alamos School Administration and School Board:

I understand that there is to be a special school board meeting on May 12 to discuss rental fees for school facilities. I am writing to discuss how this would affect the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra.

A couple of years ago, a school board meeting, at which I was present, determined that LASO would fall into the category of reduced rates since we serviced school students. Now, it seems that it has been decided that we do not fit into that category and the rates will be raised. I wish for the school board to consider the following:

1.High-school and sometimes mid-school students participate in our orchestra. They always have since the group started over 60 years ago.  Through the years, a number of these students have gone on to study music professionally.

2. The Los Alamos Symphony provides an opportunity for students to play in a full symphony orchestra. They do not have this opportunity in school, as the chamber and symphonic orchestras at the high school are made up only of string instruments. And the band is only for brass and winds.

3. Every year, the Los Alamos Symphony awards a scholarship to one or more students who have an interest in music, and usually have participated with us.

4. The adults in the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra have helped the schools out, on occasion. Most recently, the pit orchestra for the High School musical Bye Bye Birdie is made up, almost entirely, with adults from LASO.

5. If the rental rates are increased, it is unlikely that the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra can continue. We are a non-profit group with expenses of music rental, concert hall rental, conductor fees and sometimes soloist fees. While we do charge admission for our Spring and Fall concerts, we always give a free concert before the holidays as a gift to the community. This year, we will be giving a second free concert on May 9 in celebration of the county's 60th anniversary. Again, these are gifts to the community.

Jackie MacFarlane

Los Alamos