Hamden Symphony Orchestra
PO Box 185412
Hamden CT 06518-0412
Contact Information
Address PO Box 185412
Hamden, CT 06518-0412
Telephone (203) 433-4207 x
Fax 203-507-2084
E-mail info@hamdensymphony.org
Web and Social Media
Mission

An all-volunteer orchestra of more than 60 musicians from the Greater New Haven area and beyond, Hamden Symphony members share a passion for rehearsing and performing great music together. Founded in 1962 by Ruth T. Brooks, the Orchestra provides cultural enrichment to the community of Hamden, Connecticut through its series of concerts, its annual Young Musicians Concerto Competition (YMCC), the Ruth T. Brooks Scholarship Award, and the rewarding experience offered to its members and guest-artists.

At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1975
Former Names
Little Symphony Society
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Charity Type I Supporting Organization
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Vesna Mehinovic
Board Chair David Martin Liskov
Board Chair Company Affiliation Survey Launch
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Statements
Mission

An all-volunteer orchestra of more than 60 musicians from the Greater New Haven area and beyond, Hamden Symphony members share a passion for rehearsing and performing great music together. Founded in 1962 by Ruth T. Brooks, the Orchestra provides cultural enrichment to the community of Hamden, Connecticut through its series of concerts, its annual Young Musicians Concerto Competition (YMCC), the Ruth T. Brooks Scholarship Award, and the rewarding experience offered to its members and guest-artists.

Background Hamden Symphony Orchestra was founded as the Little Symphony Society in 1962, by Ruth T. Brooks, a chemist, and amateur violist. The orchestra performed under the baton of Paul Gacek for thirty-eight years, and in 2008 Vesna Mehinovic became music director.
Impact
2018-2019 was a successful season for Hamden Symphony Orchestra. Continuing efforts to increase our membership, audience and awareness in the community continues to be our main goal for our 2019-2020 season.
 
I.  Performances:  The Orchestra continued its focus on innovative concert programs combining both well-known and lesser known pieces in the classical repertoire. Lesser known pieces included Tocatta Concertante, an work from American Composer Irving Fine, and the Flute Concerto by Ned Romberg. Staples like Dvorak's Carnival Overture, and Humperdink's Hansel & Gretel Overture were fun for both audience and Orchestra alike. In addition, as part of our Spring Concert that celebrated 50 years of the Young Musicians Concerto Competition, we invited members of the Orchestra from Sacred Heart Academy of Hamden to perform side-by-side with HSO in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Selections from Phantom of the Opera. 
 
II. Strengthen our relationship with our community: We continue to make efforts to strengthen our relationship with the community. Prior to our Fall concert our music director and a relative of Composer Irving Fine were interviewed by WQUN the local radio station to promote the performance and talk about Mr. Fine's body of work.  
 
Needs
1. Recruiting and retaining new musicians in the area is always the biggest need, as audience size, fundraising and overall energy of the group are all improved as the Orchestra grows.
 
 2. Funding is a secondary need to keep up with the rising cost of securing our venue for performances, and increasing compensation of our music director to match the work involved with the position. Music licensing, web hosting and other annual fees are an additional burden.
Board Chair Statement
Hamden Symphony Orchestra was the first ensemble I discovered and joined as a Percussionist a few weeks following my move to Connecticut in the Fall of 2010 from New York City. I always hoped to find group to perform in outside of my office job and was surprised to find a group right in my new town. Upon meeting Vesna, the Orchestra's music director, before my first rehearsal and other musicians I became hooked instantly. I learned how the orchestra was in a period of transition with membership, and that a future permanent venue was under construction creating numerous challenges for the group. I was exciting to become more involved in the Orchestra when I got elected to be Music Librarian that Spring, and then after a few years its President in 2014. I'm most excited about how we've grown in size, enabling us to get to perform more fun and challenging music, to a growing audience from the community and its surroundings.
 
There are several aspects of our Orchestra that I believe distinguish us. One is the diversity of ages, backgrounds and professions of our musicians; everything from talented high-school students getting their first opportunity to play in a non-school-based performance group to longtime members of more than 30 years. We really have created a close-knit musical family and that is especially true in that we regularly have family members (spouses, parents, children etc.) performing together in the Orchestra.
 
I'm also proud of our increasingly innovative programs and fun ways to market them to the general public. As commentators lament the death of Classical Music in society, and with many professional ensembles having difficulties and some even going bankrupt, we have sought to shake things up and do things differently. By putting emphasis on the emotions and stories of the music we perform, we hope to remove the "stuffiness" of what is considered a Classical Music performance and make it more authentic to today's audiences. We have even experimented with dance & multimedia in the past few years.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Symphony Orchestras
Secondary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Arts Education
Tertiary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Music
Areas Served
Ansonia
Bethany
Branford
Cheshire
Derby
East Haven
Guilford
Hamden
Lower Naugatuck Valley
Madison
Milford
New Haven
North Branford
North Haven
Orange
Oxford
Seymour
Shelton
Shoreline
State wide
Wallingford
West Haven
Woodbridge
While we are based in Hamden, and the vast majority of our performances are performed there, both our musicians and our audience is drawn from a rather wide radius of surrounding communities.  
Programs
Description Hamden Symphony Orchestra performs 2-4 concerts annually. Our regular season performances are held at Hamden Memorial Town Hall usually in the Fall & Spring and occasionally over the Holiday Season. We might also present a summer performance outdoors, as we did in 2016 & 2018 at Hamden's Volunteer Firefighters Fireworks Display. Concerts are general admission with a suggested donation of $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. The rehearsal process and culminating concert performance for a given program is the cornerstone of our mission to give members of the Greater New Haven area the opportunity to perform in an orchestra setting. 
Population Served Adults / Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) / Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Success from our standpoint is primarily dependent on retaining current musicians and growing our membership both in size and our performance level. The size of our concert audience is a secondary measure, though linked closely with the size of the ensemble. 
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
In terms of our audience, the level of attendance at performances and amount of money raised by our suggested admission donations is the most direct indicator.
 
In terms of musicians, the number of musicians per season and their general satisfaction with being in the group is the primary indicator of success.  
Description

2019 marked the 50th Young Musicians Concerto Competition (YMCC) for the Hamden Symphony Orchestra. Each year, the Hamden Symphony Orchestra has organized the YMCC to give talented students the opportunity to perform a solo work with the orchestra. To be eligible the student must reside, attend school and/or study with a teacher in Connecticut, and have not yet graduated from high school.

Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
The success of the Competition is determined primarily based on the number of applicants in a given competition year and that a fair process occurred in the selection of the 3 winners. Financially, we would hope that the application fees generated enough funds to cover the stipends of the three winners in a given year.
 
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. At the conclusion of a competition year, we assess the number of applicants in that year, and any feedback provided from applicants and family members. We have frequently made changes to make the Competition more widely known and accessible to students around Connecticut. 
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Seeing talented young musicians not only perform with the Orchestra at the Spring Concert, but also work with the Ensemble in the rehearsal process, many getting that chance for the first time, is a highlight of the season. 
 
Description

For over thirty years we have honored a graduating Hamden High School student with the Ruth T. Brooks Scholarship Award. Named in honor of Ruth T. Brooks, our founding member, and presented annually, the award goes to a qualified senior from Hamden High School who has demonstrated excellence in the field of music.

Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals No
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Long term success is dependent on our continued ability to provide this award each year. On all contribution forms an option is presented to designate a gift to the Ruth T. Brooks Scholarship Award Fund. This fund is tracked separate of our operating fund. 
CEO/Executive Director
Vesna Mehinovic
Term Start Sept 2008
Email mesev817@yahoo.com
Experience

Vesna Mehinovic has been the Music Director and Conductor of Hamden Symphony Orchestra since 2008. She began her formal education in music by receiving a diploma in Music Theory and Piano Teaching and Performing from the High School for Music in Sarajevo. She continued her Bachelor of Arts degree in Conducting and Music Theory at the Sarajevo Music Academy, and a Master of Arts in Conducting and Music Theory at Wesleyan University in Middletown.

Vesna has been the recipient of many honors in her native country, and is the first professional woman to conduct an orchestra in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She specialized in Conducting at the Academy for Music and Stage Arts in Graz, Austria in the class of Milan Horvat. Ms. Mehinovic has also served as guest conductor for orchestras in Austria, Serbia, and Croatia. ​

While in the United States, she has worked with several church and non-religious choirs both in Connecticut and Arizona. As a music teacher Vesna has taught in many elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as having worked with college students at Yale and Wesleyan Universities. Currently, she teaches music and directs the Orchestra and Choirs at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden. She is also the Conductor of the Quinnipiac University Orchestra. and Organist & Choir Master at St. Michael's Church in Naugatuck.

Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 65
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate 0%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 1
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 0
Female 1
Unspecified 0
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation No
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation No
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Board Chair
David Martin Liskov
Company Affiliation Survey Launch
Term May 2019 to May 2020
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Stephanie Buggie
Judith Kramer KoretCommunity Volunteer
Karen Kriner
Van NguyenCommunity Volunteer
Nick Souris
Mary TokarskiCommunity Volunteer
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 5
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 4
Risk Management Provisions
Commercial General Liability
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2019
Fiscal Year End June 30 2020
Projected Revenue $7,000.00
Projected Expenses $7,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201920182017
Total Assets$6,415--$6,104
Current Assets$6,415--$6,104
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets$6,415--$6,104
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201920182017
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountThe Community Foundation for Greater New Haven $1,324 --Amazon Smile Foundation $79
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountAmazon Smile Foundation $136 --Unilever Foundation $50
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountAptarGroup $100 -- --
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
Comments
CEO Comments
In the past few year we have made a major effort to step up our fundraising internally and externally. We are proud not require any membership dues from our musicians, which enables college and graduate students who don't have opportunities at their institutions to join an area orchestra as well as those facing financial hardship. Instead we have made more of an effort to encourage voluntary contributions, including an bi-annual mug raffle for musicians who donate or help solicit a concert-program advertisement. 
 
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address PO Box 185412
Hamden, CT 065180412
Primary Phone 203 433-4207
Contact Email info@hamdensymphony.org
CEO/Executive Director Vesna Mehinovic
Board Chair David Martin Liskov
Board Chair Company Affiliation Survey Launch

 

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