Ansbacher, Vradenburg foundations launch free summer concerts

A $50,000 gift from the Charles Ansbacher Foundation to the Bee Vradenburg Foundation will bring a series of free symphony concerts to Colorado Springs parks.

The grant from the Ansbacher foundation – along with additional Vradenburg foundation funding – will support Free For All Summer Symphony: A Celebration of Charles Ansbacher and Bee Vradenburg, which will provide one outdoor concert in the community each year for the next three years.

Ansbacher was music director and conductor of the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra – predecessor of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic – in the ’70s and ’80s.  In September, he died of a brain tumor, at age 67, in his Cambridge, Mass. home.

During his tenure as conductor and director, the orchestra grew considerably. Ansbacher, Vradenburg and others launched the summer orchestral performances in parks throughout the region, including the Fabulous Fourth concerts in Memorial Park. Thousands of people attended them.

This year, the inaugural Free for All Summer Symphony concert will be performed by the Chamber Orchestra of Colorado Springs – joined by singers of the local chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America –  in late summer, in the Monument Valley Park area below the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. FAC will support organization of the concert.

In 2012, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic will perform in the same area of the park, at a date yet to be determined. Performers and dates for 2013 will be determined later.

Since its inception, the Bee Vradenburg Foundation has provided more than $1.5 million in grants to nonprofit arts organizations in El Paso and Teller counties.