We have reached the end of a fiscal year for Cantare, and it’s been quite a ride! Each of us has dealt with brand new challenges, discouragements, discoveries and perspectives. We have seen how critical it is that organizations like Cantare survive. This isn’t just because of the music, though that is valuable enough, but also because of the values and vision we project. We don’t just believe in the equal value of all people, we live it out every day as an organization. I know that you, like me, support Cantare because you believe that this matters enormously.

We have seen tremendous creativity and commitment this year from our staff and supporters. From online classes to virtual choirs to David’s amazing ongoing Decoding the Masterworks series, we have benefited from incredible flexibility and hard work from David, Julie, Conway, and all the Teaching Artists. I, for one, am very grateful. It is this approach that gives me complete confidence that we will emerge from this time stronger and richer as an organization.

Financially, it has of course been a challenging year. We lost the revenue we had budgeted from three adult choir concerts, as well as our spring fund-raising event. Despite that, we ended the year with just a $16,680 deficit (2.7% of our total budget of just over $600,000). There were several reasons for this. Our Executive Director resigned at the end of March, and we did not replace her, saving salary dollars. David stepped into an additional role of General Manager and has managed expenses really well. Most significant of all has been the loyalty of our supporters like you. We increased our spring campaign goal, and you rose to the occasion and met the higher goal. 

Going into 2020-21, we expect that the Payroll Protection Plan loan will be largely forgiven. The loan has already helped us with cash flow, and forgiveness will give us an injection of income that will be helpful as we try to continue without concert revenue for the foreseeable future. We have already received funding from the City of Oakland, California Arts Council and the NEA for the new season, which displays their trust in our ability to succeed.

With Oakland schools reopening in distance-learning mode, our teaching artists are geared to teach online starting next month. Our adult choirs are on hold for live concerts but will be participating in some virtual choir projects throughout the fall. David will be offering more online courses in the summer and fall, open to any and everyone. You will see more on topics, dates and times later. 

I conclude with gratitude for the whole Cantare community. It is truly an honor to be associated with an organization that contributes so positively to the children and adults of Alameda and Contra Costa counties. It is inspiring to be a part of a team—staff, board, volunteers and supporters—that shows such great commitment to the long-term vision and mission of Cantare.

Thank you, and please continue to stay safe.