“Classically Cannabis” fundraiser breaks uneasy ground in Colorado

The Colorado Symphony Orchestra hosted a fundraising event in Denver on Friday May 23 called “Classically Cannabis,” the first of a four-part concert series this summer.

The private event, attended by more than 250 people, featured a performance by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet and allowed patrons to openly smoke marijuana in designated areas. Bridging the gap between classical music and modern times, though, may prove to be a bit of a struggle.

“I think it’s a good idea if they’re able to keep the older, classical audience satisfied, as well as bringing in a new generation,” said Kimberli Render, a graduate student and music department assistant at Colorado State University.

Render, who is also an opera singer at the university, said it is great to draw people to concerts but believes it will be a while before other music associations try to do a similar event.

Instead, organizations such as the Fort Collins Symphony Association are adjusting to waning interest in classical music by sponsoring 5 kilometer runs and events at local breweries.

“We’re in the same boat where we’re trying to branch out and bring in new, younger audiences,” said Dan Booth, marketing and events coordinator for the Fort Collins Symphony.

Booth also said that alienating the older audience was a big concern when considering a similar fundraiser in the future. Furthermore, Booth does not think that Fort Collins has a market for this type of event like Denver.

And after how successful the event was, he may have a point.

According to an article by the Denver Post, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra raised around $30,000 through sponsorship and $20,000 from the attendees. The $50,000 total for the event puts the Colorado Symphony Orchestra on track to meet its goal of raising $200,000 over the concert series.

“Personally, I don’t know if it was the best move, but I certainly respect them for trying it and I hope it works out for them,” Booth said.

According to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s website, the two other “Classically Cannabis” themed fundraisers will be on July 18 and August 15. The fourth, and last concert will be at Red Rocks Amphitheater on September 13 but, because it is a public venue, open smoking of marijuana will not be allowed.

Kimberly Render sits at her desk and types on her computer.

Graduate student Kimberli render works at her desk in the CSU music department office.

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