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Billings Symphony gets largest donation in its history: a new office space

Posted at 2:30 PM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 16:30:00-05

The Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale announced Wednesday it received the largest donation in the group's history: a new office space at 2820 Second Ave. N. in downtown Billings.

About 3,600 square feet of the ground-floor space was donated to the symphony by the Jack and Adrea Sukin family and the Robert and Sandra Sukin family. The building is also home to The Sassy Biscuit restaurant and Brockel's Chocolates.

“This is the largest single donation to the Billings Symphony in the history of the organization. Really, thank you to the Sukin family. We are honored to receive this gift," said Ignacio Barron Viela, the symphony's executive director.

Viela also announced a donation for the renovation for the new space from Dr. John and Patricia Burg.

The space is three times larger than the symphony's current office space in the third floor of the Montana National Bank building at 201 N. Broadway in downtown Billings. Hopefully the new space will allow the symphony more public visibility, Viela said.

"In the last years, our patrons would say, where are you located?" Viela said. "We were looking for a space where we can create a flow and movement of patrons coming to see us and coming to us to talk about our mission and history. By being ground floor and being downtown is just perfect to accomplish that."

The downtown location is near the symphony's home venue of The Alberta Bair Theater. Viela mentioned plans to host small musical performances in the new space with the possibility of opening it up for music lessons in the future.

“It creates so many opportunities,” Viela said. "A space that we can perhaps incorporate into the Art Walk. A space where we can create further partnerships with other art partners in town and other organizations."

The symphony will send request for proposals to design and renovate the new space soon. But the hope is for the group to move in sometime in the summer of 2020.

The change in location also comes with a re-branding for the symphony. Next year is the 70th symphony season in Billings.

The re-branding would make the symphony "even more appealing to our community. That’s going to be an exciting time. The fact that we are re-branding and moving to a new space is really going together. We believe it’s just the best time,” Viela said.

Expect a new logo and website design to come with that re-branding.

This year has been good for the symphony. The group had to relocate to the Lincoln Center since the Alberta Bair Theater has been under renovations all year. But that hasn't slowed the group down.

Viela said the group has grown its community engagement programs by 10 percent. It's also grown its endowment fund by nearly 40 percent. And the symphony reached a ticket sales milestone last weekend.

"This year at the Lincoln Center has been going fantastic. Last Saturday was the record number of ticket sales in one season concert in the history of the Billings Symphony. With over 1,500 tickets sold at that concert. This is a success for us and we want to keep that growth and bring forward awareness of the symphony in the community," Viela said. "I would like to thank our patrons and supporters and our symphony family members for making that so.”