Symphony Cancels New Year's Eve Concert

Symphony Cancels New Year's Eve Concert

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News specialist Shelley Osterloh reporting

A seven year New Year's Eve tradition was canceled this week.

The Utah Symphony says low ticket sales caused it to cancel its New Year's Eve concert.

And one reason the symphony canceled the concert is because since the First Night celebration started five years ago and has steadily gotten more popular, attendance at the symphony's New Year's concert has declined.

For seven years, fans of classical music gathered on New Year's Eve for a concert and post-concert party. In 2000, 2,300 people attended, but since then, the numbers have steadily declined. By the 1st of December, only 200 people had purchased tickets.

The symphony's marketing director says, with First Night Activities, folks have a lot of of other choices. But she also believes there is a shift in how people want to enjoy the holiday.

"I think people are a little more family-oriented. I think since September 11 we are seeing that in the arts community, in the entertainment business, we are seeing that shift. People want to do more family events. This particular event was more of an adult concert and a post-reception," says marketing director Therese Clay.

She says they will reevaluate the New Year's Concert for next year, but may serve symphony audiences better by offering concerts at other times during the holidays. Sales for other holiday concerts are up.

The symphony has never been part of the First Night celebration. Ballet West and the Utah Opera don't particpate because of performance schedules in December and January.

Other Salt Lake Arts heavy-weights -- like Ririe Woodbury and RDT -- have found their dancers prefer time off during the holiday.

But First Night organizers say the downtown Salt Lake party will offer a slew of new performers and old favorites.

Last year, 50,000 attended, up 20,000 from the year before.

First Night 2003 offers 96 performances at 24 locations, including Jazz, ethnic music and dance, Shakespeare, some really unsual large visual arts displays, comedy, an early and late fireworks display and much more.

Access buttons are just $7. Kids under 8 are free.

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