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Reflections on the Waldo Canyon Fire, part 2

2012 December 14
by Nathan Newbrough

This is the final part of a look back at the Waldo Canyon Fire, a singular tragedy and an unforgettable moment in the life of our region. Through sheer bravery and simple acts of kindness, we saw a community rising together. The Colorado Springs Philharmonic was privileged to play a part in the relief effort. Now, five months later, we look back and take stock.

Read part 1 here.

On the Fourth of July, 2012, the Philharmonic teamed up with Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs Independent, and the Colorado Springs World Arena to present A Community Rises, a benefit performance at the World Arena. Some 8,000 tickets were distributed, and thanks to leadership from Rocky Mountain PBS, it was broadcast to more than 150,000 people throughout the Pikes Peak Region on nearly every regional television and radio station.

Thanks to Vicki Dimond and Jon Medved, the phone room at Chefs Catalog was transformed into telethon central, collecting donations for the Waldo Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund, administered by the Pikes Peak United Way. “The call volume was shocking,” said Dimond. “In fact, it was so incredible that it overwhelmed the system for a time. I’ve never seen such outpouring of support from all walks of life. It was unforgettable.”

All told, $297,000 in combined contributions was raised in a few short hours. And thanks to generous partner donations to cover costs, 100% of the dollars went directly to the Wildfire Relief Fund.

Moved by their neighbors’ loss, many Philharmonic players were also among the donors. Their donations were matched by the Philharmonic’s general fund, totaling $10,000 given to the Relief Fund.

“The Waldo Canyon Assistance Fund has provided over $812,000 in grants to 16 organizations. These organizations have provided income support, rent and utilities assistance, mental health care, new furnishings for apartments and homes, as well as extensive hours of casework creating long-term recovery plans for those affected by the fire. All of these services would not be possible without the significant contributions from the community. This was especially apparent during the Community Rises concert where approximately one-third of the dollars were raised.” —Preston Briggs, Coordinator, Waldo Canyon Fire Assistance Fund, Pikes Peak United Way

The Philharmonic’s community doesn’t stop at the walls of the concert hall. A Community Rises stood out at a time of greatest community need. We were proud to join with you, neighbors and patrons, fellow victims, and friends, to support our community during its time of greatest need. 2012 was a year for the records, but let’s make it history and strive forward to create a better Colorado Springs in 2013.

Best wishes from the Colorado Springs Philharmonic for a happy holiday season.

One Response Post a comment
  1. Anne Vieira permalink
    December 14, 2012

    Thanks so much for the updates about the Symphony and the great stories you share with email friends. As the proud parent and parent-in-law of two of your musicians, it is wonderful to have news of your happenings. I wish we could participate more in the wonderful music you provide for Colorado Springs but distance makes it difficult. Happy holidays to all of you!

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