For an organization like ours, fresh out of a 40th-anniversary celebration year that buzzed with the excitement of legacy and vision and continuity, the notion of pause—any kind of pause—was simply unimaginable.
Since COVID-19’s explosion into global pandemic, we have found ourselves having to do just that: imagine pause.
In the dawning of awareness about what was coming, we were among the first performing arts organizations regionally to announce show cancelations. This was our first public pause and, though painful, it was the right and responsible choice for the health of our organization and our community.
The past few months have been traumatic for all of us. We feel very deeply the reality that nobody has been spared from the impacts of this pandemic. Life as we know it, business as we know it—even our art as we know it—has changed. We as choral singers have had to figure out how to navigate these changes. We’ve learned that our art is not just changed but changing.
We’ve witnessed a flourishing of creativity on social media as artists everywhere used their time and energies to explore the potentiality of the moment, charting new ways to touch people in a time of physical distancing. Our organization has responded in kind, with Monday and Tuesday Night Live chorus gatherings, singing telegrams, jubilant virtual chorus videos, and plans for a new innovative holiday program next winter. These things, too, would have been looked at just a few short months ago as unimaginable!
We are a creative, strong, and resilient community. We serve a powerful mission, and we have proven that we can and will adapt through the most difficult, critical moments to ensure that we can continue serving that mission.
Today I must share with you that we face another critical moment. Until a vaccine is developed and live performances for large audiences become viable again, we must reduce our footprint and shape our budget to better reflect our new reality. Even with the outpouring of love and donations as recently as last weekend’s wonderful Prom Night Annual Auction, the financial impact resulting from the complete evaporation of ticket revenue cannot be sustained with our current organizational structure. And while we might prefer to soften this moment, we respect our staff and our community far too much to be anything but completely transparent.
To best steward the resources you, our donors, have entrusted to us to ensure continued service of our mission long into the future, our organization is about to take another major pause.
For the month of July, which is traditionally a time of summer hiatus, all non-critical business operations conducted by paid personnel will cease. All Flying House Productions staff members will either be placed on unpaid furlough temporarily or will be laid off permanently. This is a shared sacrifice, and nobody will be unaffected.
During this month of pause, please direct any pressing matters to the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. You may contact Board President Kevin Maifeld (firstname.lastname@example.org) or current Board Secretary April Cook (email@example.com).
We face some of the most difficult socio-economic conditions ever experienced in modern history. Taking this action now is the right and only thing to do to ensure that this is just a pause for our organization. We are changing. This is one more moment in the shaping of our shared legacy when we will have imagined new possibilities and secured our mission’s future.
COVID-19 may force us to be apart, but we will continue to stand together and look forward to the day when we can gather again in song.
Karen J Lane