The Rose Ensemble announced last June that the much-decorated vocal ensemble would fade away at the end of the present season, citing declining revenues. Today, the Rose Ensemble delighted fans by announcing that its planned sunset would not actually take place. Thanks to an outpouring of fundraising and audience support, the ensemble will charge into 2019-2020 with renewed financial health.
For a performing arts organization to abort a sunset plan is highly unusual, with headlines more commonly mourning the closure of organizations such as Patrick’s Cabaret, Intermedia Arts, and Bedlam Theatre. It is a welcome breath of fresh air in a week that will end with the closure of the jazz venue Vieux Carré in St. Paul, MN.
The Rose Ensemble’s press release follows.
Owing to 2018-2019 performance season that yielded earned revenue and contributions far beyond expectations, the Board of Directors of the critically acclaimed Rose Ensemble has decided to leave the organization’s books—and its options—open for at least another year. For now, dissolution has been called off.
The news was announced by a board officer to the sold-out crowd at The Rose Ensemble’s Finale Concert at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis on June 15. A follow-up message was sent by email to the organization’s international audience. “It has been an emotional season in many respects. But thanks to our musicians’ world-class performances and a great outpouring of support from our community, The Rose Ensemble also has experienced a season that far exceeded our financial expectations. The Rose Ensemble is completely debt free. This means we now have the capacity—if nothing else—to delay formal, legal dissolution. The Board of Directors therefore intends to dedicate the coming year to reflection and reassessment,” the board wrote.
The possibility of future performances was addressed in the email: “We want to be clear that there are currently no plans whatsoever to self-produce more concert seasons. But in light of our musicians’ incredible work, for example, in 17 senior communities and nursing homes across Minnesota earlier this month, it is clear that we must take some time to explore potential opportunities.”
According to Founder and Artistic/Executive Director Jordan Sramek, sold-out concerts, notable recording sales, and larger-than-projected donations from individuals all played a role in helping the organization recover from previous debt. “The generosity and concern shown by our international community of fans has been touching. The volume of phone calls, emails, and letters I’ve personally received over the last year has demonstrated just how meaningful The Rose Ensemble is to people—and what a key role it has played in their cultural lives. It’s clear to me that our supporters have been in mourning. And they’ve been asking if this is really the end.”
In May 2018, The Rose Ensemble board voted to cease operations after the 2018-2019 performance season and to begin dissolving the organization after the final performance on June 15, 2019. The board now states that the coming year is to be one of “strategizing, connecting, and refocusing to determine the future of the organization we all love so much.”