Live classical music lovers in Rocky View County can now leave their lasting impression on a local performance venue.
The Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra (RMSO) has launched a seat-naming campaign for its venue, the Polaris Centre for the Performing Arts, located at 261051 Wagon Wheel View in East Balzac. According to Carlos Foggin, the venue's manager and the orchestra’s music director, the campaign allows donors to pay for the naming rights for a specific seat. The seat's arm will be affixed with a plaque bearing the donor's name and a brief engraved message.
“The whole purpose is to purchase the seats, and so when folks come to the theatre, they can sit in their own seat,” Foggin said. “Or, if they bought them for a business, other folks can sit in those seats and see the business sponsor.
“The idea is not a new one – pretty much any theatre that ever opens does this. It’s a way to offset the cost of the seating itself and also, if there are extra [proceeds], it can go into operating costs or extra technical stuff.”
The price point for a seat’s naming rights differ based on where the seat is located, according to Foggin. The RMSO’s website states the naming rights start at $500, which is for a seat in the back or middle of the audience, chosen by the orchestra. For a donation of $750, donors will be able choose their seat’s location, excluding the front two rows, and have their name listed on a separate donor wall.
For $1,000, donors will be able to select seats in the front two rows, as well as select aisle seats, and have their names listed on the donor wall.
“We found for the most part, people like aisles, front rows and legroom, just like you would in an airplane,” Foggin said. “Those seats tend to be at a higher price bracket.”
For those willing to donate $2,500, Foggin said they will receive the naming rights for one of the venue’s cabaret tables, which include two seats.
Foggin said there are many reasons why someone would wish to participate in the seat-naming campaign, adding it is a way to support the local arts community, honour a loved one, or pay tribute to RMSO.
“The majority of people are actually buying them as a memorial – a grandparent or parent passed on who was a theatre-lover or arts-lover,” he said. “Or, it’s for an anniversary. It’s a way to show support and to put your name on something.”
The new seats will be one of the final components in a months-long renovation project the Polaris Centre has undergone since last year. The upgrades included knocking down a wall to add a new bay, improving washroom facilities and fitting the lobby with a small bar. The renos also included improving the facility’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning.
According to Foggin, the construction is expected to wrap up in March. Once complete, he said the upgrades will double the venue’s audience capacity to nearly 200.
“It’s really the end of about three years of waiting,” he said.
If prospective donors want to see the new and improved space before they make a contribution to the seat-naming campaign, Foggin said they can call ahead and staff at the Polaris Centre will be able to accommodate a private tour of the venue.
RMSO’s website states the orchestra is able to provide payment plans for the seat-naming campaign. As RMSO is a registered non-profit society, Foggin said the orchestra is also able to issue a charitable tax receipt for the donations, which can reduce the donor’s amount of income tax.
“It’s a nice way to get a tax receipt, put your name on something and contribute something long-term,” he said. “These plaques are going to be there for 20 years, until we replace the seats.”
For more information, contact the Polaris Centre at 403-255-9368 or visit bit.ly/3rVkcVc