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

Hamden Symphony Orchestra is an all-volunteer orchestra of more than fifty musicians from the Greater New Haven area and beyond. The orchestra provides cultural enrichment to the community of Hamden, Connecticut and its surroundings through its series of concerts, its annual Young Musicians Concerto Competition, the Ruth T. Brooks Scholarship Award and by the orchestral experience it offers area musicians and soloists. Hamden Symphony Orchestra is committed to creating innovative and compelling programs for musicians to rehearse and perform together, and for audiences to experience and enjoy. 

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
 
Projected Revenue $7,000.00
Projected Expenses $7,000.00
Statements
Mission

Hamden Symphony Orchestra is an all-volunteer orchestra of more than fifty musicians from the Greater New Haven area and beyond. The orchestra provides cultural enrichment to the community of Hamden, Connecticut and its surroundings through its series of concerts, its annual Young Musicians Concerto Competition, the Ruth T. Brooks Scholarship Award and by the orchestral experience it offers area musicians and soloists. Hamden Symphony Orchestra is committed to creating innovative and compelling programs for musicians to rehearse and perform together, and for audiences to experience and enjoy. 

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
2015-2016 was a successful season. We had several organizational goals going into this past season. Continuing these efforts is our main goal for this coming year.
 
I. Expand size and increase talent-level of our orchestra roster so we can perform at an increasingly higher-level: Through various recruiting methods and outreach to local students (high-school, college and graduate-school), our membership roster grew to over 50. The Orchestra performed some of its most ambitious works in recent years: Tchaikovsky's Symphony # 6 & Chausson's Poeme d'amour et de la mer.
 
2. Strengthen our relationship with our community: This year we worked to get our name out in the community, since we've realized many in the town don't even know we have a local orchestra. We actively promoted our Spring Concert and sold baked-goods outside our local Stop & Shop. We also performed for the first-time at Hamden's Independence Day Fireworks Display, which was an opportunity to be part of one of the town's most prominent annual events.  
 
3. Increase general operating fund: After several years of revenue losses due to a lack of a consistent performance venue, we set a loose fundraising goal for this year to get our finances back to previous levels. Some of this success can be attributed to a larger pool of musicians to draw from as donors. More musicians also led to larger audiences and concert revenue from word-of-mouth. We also focused on fundraising needs in communications to musicians and instituted a raffle for members who donated or sold a program ad before each concert. For the first time, we participated in The Great Give and applied our usual incentives to donors in this event. Lastly, we received a major gift from the family of our founding member, Ruth T. Brooks, to endow the concertmaster chair in her memory.  
 
Through these efforts, we were able to refurbish our piano so it could be used in performances and also increase our conductor's concert stipend for the first time in 4 years. 
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 multimedia this past year.
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 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. This year we have started giving paper surveys to audience members, with questions about how they heard about the performance and whether it was the first time they attended a performance.  
 
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

2017 will mark the forty-eighth 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. 
 
In addition, the actual competition is held at an area Senior Center in January of each year, which gives their residents and the general public the opportunity to witness the talented auditions.  
 
 
Description

For roughly 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 is Conductor of the Quinnipiac University Orchestra. She also teaches music at a number of elementary schools in the greater New Haven area and continues to teach privately.
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 55
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 2016 to May 2017
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Stephanie Buggie
Judith Kramer Koret
Karen Kriner
Geraldine Rollins
Nick Souris
Mary Tokarski
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 5
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 2
Female 5
Risk Management Provisions
Commercial General Liability
 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2016
Fiscal Year End June 30 2017
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 Expense Allocations Chart
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$3,220$2,280$2,390
Administration Expense$3,409$3,390$4,375
Fundraising Expense------
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.190.930.36
Program Expense/Total Expenses49%40%35%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$6,130$4,880$5,278
Current Assets$6,130$4,880$5,278
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets$6,130$4,880$5,278
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountUnilever Foundation $50Bankwell Financial Group $250 --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountAmazon Smile Foundation $19Amazon Smile Foundation $25 --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
Comments
CEO Comments
This past 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. 
 
We have also made an increased effort to raise funds externally, by including new incentives for large-donations. This past year, the son of our founding-member Ruth T. Brooks endowed the concert-master chair in his mother's memory. We have also introduced new single-concert sponsorship opportunities. In addition, for the first time we participated in the Great Give Event. 
 
As a result we were finally able to raise our conductor's yearly stipend, after a few years of stagnation, and get our operating fund back to a healthy level.  
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. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. 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 203 507-2084
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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