Summer Symphony helps Philharmonic turn corner

Allow me to paint a picture. Imagine tens of thousands of people lounging together on a lawn of green grass.

Looking closer, you notice an entire family — three generations — making their way with an overstuffed picnic basket. The youngest child stops to study a dandelion. Late afternoon clouds disperse and as the sunlight fades, the music begins.

With a history dating to 1973, the Summer Symphony is our community’s most important summertime tradition — a series of free outdoor concerts in regional parks.

Now, 40 years later, Summer Symphony is poised for its big return with four free events planned throughout the community.

For the past half-decade, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic has been in the turnaround business. That turnaround first took shape internally — righting our business practices, putting more dollars on stage, and offering a huge incentive to new audience members.

That’s all paying off, but the work continues. We’re now focused on community impact, and doing whatever we can to make 2013 a huge, corner-turning year for Colorado Springs.

Summer Symphony is a part of the turnaround.

Generous organizations making Summer Symphony a reality include El Pomar Foundation, the Anschutz Foundation, the City of Colorado Springs, and the El Paso County Enterprise Zone. We’re also proud to work with the fire relief organization, Colorado Springs Together, to organize a one-year commemoration of the Waldo Canyon wildfires on June 26. These five organizations have gone all out to make Summer Symphony possible.

Far more than just fun events, Summer Symphony is great for business in three important ways.

Economic impact — Total economic impact is more than $860,000. That’s about $2,700 per minute of music.

Regional reinvestment — Safeguarding a strong local economy depends on local reinvestment to keep those dollars churning within our community. Summer Symphony reinvests 92 percent of its budget right here in the region. Using local vendors and suppliers has been a priority from the beginning.

A vibrant community — You can’t put a price on a lively, colorful community that sets time aside for celebration and enjoyment. A vibrant community attracts investment, new businesses and the most desirable workforce. It gives us identity, distinction and renewed civic pride.

With all this, there’s yet another reason to celebrate.

Summer Symphony is a massive democratizing force. There’s nothing like seeing 50,000 people from all walks of life sitting on the grass together, without respect to age, wealth, or ethnicity. Moments like these are about enjoying the music, the fireworks, our neighbors, and a connection with our better selves.

We invite everyone to Summer Symphony to enjoy four brilliant evenings filled with music, laughter, and fireworks under starlit Colorado skies.

Nathan Newbrough is president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

Summer Symphony 2013

Details: csphilharmonic.org/summer

Colorado Springs Together

June 26, 6 p.m., Mountain Shadows Park, concert at 7:30.

Independence Day

July 4, 7:30 p.m., Memorial Park

America the Beautiful

July 20, 7:30 p.m., Security Service Field (Sky Sox)

Faithfully: The Music of Journey

July 27, 7:30 p.m., Bear Creek Regional Park