Next month, for the first time in memory, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will start a concert season free of the clangorous financial worries that always seem to crop up in the early going.
A $100,000 gift from Mary Flickinger, widow of philanthropist Burt P. Flickinger, has made sure of that.
The contribution not only put the Philharmonic's annual fund drive over its $2.4 million goal with a week to spare, but enabled the orchestra to match a $500,000 challenge grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation and an anonymous source.
The dollar-for-dollar grant, announced June 30, gives the orchestra the cushion it will need to run smoothly during the first months of the season, when expenses outstrip revenues. The extra funds will pay salaries and artists' fees until income from ticket sales and donations starts meeting the bills.
The opportunity to help the orchestra secure the matching funds appealed to the Flickinger family, Mrs. Flickinger said.
"I think Burt would be especially pleased that this gift could be part of a successful effort involving so many members of the community," she said.
A longtime member of the orchestra society board, Flickinger headed the annual campaign's major gifts division for several years and was chairman of the overall drive for the orchestra's 60th anniversary season in 1995-96.
Flickinger also was a major contributor to the orchestra throughout his lifetime.
Philharmonic Chairman Robert M. Greene also praised Dr. Thomas P. Hartnett, chairman of this year's fund drive, which has been the most ambitious in the organization's history. More than 10,000 donors and volunteers pushed the campaign over the top, Greene said.
With a new music director, JoAnn Falletta; a new executive director, Lawrence A. Ribits; and a reorganized board, the orchestra is positioned to enter the next century on a high note, Greene said.
"We began the year with a list of significant goals. We can now list a balanced budget among our accomplishments," Greene said.