Ask the Mayor

Published 5:47 pm Friday, July 15, 2011

The AmericanWind Symphony Orchestra, which the City of Bainbridge will host, is entering its 55th and final year in 2012.

Why does the city support an orchestra coming to Bainbridge?

The American Wind Symphony Orchestra will be entering its 55th and final year in 2012. Comprised with approximately 45 young musicians, soloists and artists from around the world, the orchestra performs on the deck of the Point Counterpoint II, its floating arts center. The orchestra will visit Bainbridge for four days, participating in many community events including visiting schools a brown bag in Willis Park and a Patron’s Concert. The highlight of the trip is the Friday night concert that will be performed on their floating vessel. It is a great site to see. The concert will be very worthwhile for our community as a tourist attraction, as well as a cultural, art and educational experience.

The arts and tourism have proven to make a big economic impact throughout our state, and even in our county. Each year, the U.S. Travel Association does a study for the Georgia Department of Economic Development on travel economic impacts for the state of Georgia. The most recent study shows that tourism produces a 7 to 1 return. Meaning for everyone $1 spent on tourism products, we see $7 injected into our community (and the arts have a 40 to 1 return!). The numbers for Decatur County alone are impressive. In 2009, tourism generated 320 jobs and produced $5.71 million in payroll. $27.05 million was spent directly by tourists. Furthermore, tourism in Decatur County generated $1.02 million in state tax revenues and $820,000 in local tax revenues. Those are impressive numbers for our small town!

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But what is likely to have a greater impact on our community than the monetary impact, is the educational impact that our young students will experience. Students from the Decatur County Band Program will have the opportunity to house the musicians during their time here. The pairing provides an opportunity for cultural exchange between the musician and student, and allows the student to gain insight into the life of a professional musician. The pairing will also allow the students to receive personal, informal instruction of their instrument from the musicians, as well as encouragement and advice about advancement in their musical training. Often, our students’ only experience with a professional musician is watching through the television or a seat in the audience. This one on one experience is truly unique and invaluable.

The City is confident that little or no public funds will be used for this event. In one month, we were able to raise over 20% of the total cost for the orchestra. With 10 months remaining before the orchestra arrives, we are confident that generous private donors will continue to support this great cause.


Mayor Edward Reynolds