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Philadelphia Orchestra announces new fundraising campaign

"Listen with Your Heart" draws support from big donors

Mayor Michael Nutter joined members of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Ritz Carlton Hotel this afternoon to help launch the orchestra’s new fundraising and awareness campaign, "Listen with Your Heart."

The initiative, aimed at engaging residents of the Tri-State area, will include public performances, support from local merchants and an increased online presence.

“The entire city of Philadelphia owes a great debt of gratitude to the orchestra for playing such beautiful music for so many years,” Mayor Nutter said. “It is critical that every Philadelphian be involved in some way, shape or form, whether they buy tickets, make a donation or share a story.”

The announcement came at a hopeful time for the 111-year-old orchestra, which filed for bankruptcy last month. Several corporate sponsors, including the Knight Foundation and PNC Bank, recently contributed grants to bring the orchestra's total to $2.6 million from 1200 donors since April 16. Ticket sales for the 2011-12 season remained steady rather than declining for the first time in nearly half a decade.

“Before the bankruptcy filing, we were in trouble,” said orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “The initiative is about catapulting awareness of the orchestra and our awareness of the community, as well. It’s a get-off-our-knees-and-get-walking campaign.”