“This Was a Game-Changer”: Albany Pro Musica and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

In 2015, the Community Foundation awarded $17,500 Community Impact grant for a collaboration between Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (TSBMH) and Albany Pro Musica (APM). The goal of the collaboration? Establishing Albany Pro Musica as the chorus-in-residence for Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.

“Becoming the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall’s Chorus-in-Residence was a game-changer for APM, and the grant was a significant help” said Dr. Jose Daniel Flores-Caraballo, Artistic Director for Albany Pro Musica. “APM has ambitious artistic goals, so this collaboration has allowed us to do orchestral programming and experiment with many different options that we’ve never been able to try before.”

The Foundation manages several funds that allow discretion to make grants that fund projects and programs that are responsive to changing community needs. The Community Foundation’s Community Impact Funds allow the Foundation the flexibility to use its extensive knowledge of community issues and organizations to make grants that address emerging issues or within given areas of interest. With these funds, the Foundation utilizes the expertise of its staff and Board of Directors to identify opportunities to make grants that will have the most impact in the community.

“The collaboration has given us a sense of identity,” Dr. Flores-Caraballo continued. “Before this, people who knew APM regarded it well, but we did performances at multiple locations. Now, our audience knows where to find us, and we are benefiting from the reputation, acoustics and elegance of the Hall.”

In addition to giving Albany Pro Musica a permanent location for concerts (while still preserving their ability to stage shows at other venues), the collaboration also allowed the two organizations to combine their marketing and some administrative functions for greater cost efficiency.

“The Foundation’s Community Impact Fund is where we’re able to be very responsive,” said John G. Eberle, President & CEO for the Community Foundation. “Community Impact grants give the Foundation the ability to fund innovative and ingenious programs that don’t easily fit into other grant categories. The partnership between Albany Pro Musica and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall is a perfect example of that—two organizations working together to achieve shared goals, enjoying mutual benefits, and becoming more cost-effective and efficient in the process.”

“The grant and collaboration came about at a unique time for the Hall,” said Jon Elbaum, Executive Director of Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. “We were on a path of expansion, and this has taken us to the next level. We’ve been able to expand our presenting season and have been able to work together on achieving our common goals.”

During the 2015-2016 season (the first for the collaboration), APM attracted thousands of attendees to their shows at the Hall. The Hall has enjoyed increased exposure to APM’s existing fan base, and followers of the Hall have been able to enjoy APM in the Hall’s exceptional setting. In addition, having APM as chorus-in-residence has allowed the Hall to expand their classical music season, as well as increasing the number of seasonal attendees overall for the Hall.

“The sense of collaboration was obvious from both organizations’ boards of directors,” continued Dr. Flores-Caraballo. “From the first meeting, I was so impressed to see both boards embracing the proposal with open arms.”

“To be successful with this kind of collaboration, partners must have their eyes wide open,” continued Elbaum. “This has helped us incorporate more diverse viewpoints, but with a great level of comfort and trust.”

“This is a creative way to deal with the realities of non-profit performing arts organizations,” continued Dr. Flores-Caraballo. “There are financial challenges, and organizations can be lacking in staff or facilities, and their missions can be limited by this. I encourage all of my colleagues to look into doing more collaborations—they translate into an ability to focus on artistic excellence, enhancing the limited resources we can get from tickets sales and the kind donations from our loyal patrons.”