Just one national holiday ago, Warren Hyer was concerned.

Just one national holiday ago, Warren Hyer was concerned.

As the executive director of the Central Ohio Symphony, Hyer knew that Fourth of July concert expenses can run as high as $20,000 - money the symphony didn't have.

And since the economy has been nobody's friend lately, the annual city fireworks show was in jeopardy as well, inspiring a related but still separate fundraising push to ensure the sky was ablaze on Independence Day.

Things were rough all over.

Now, a scant week before Labor Day, Hyer is cautiously pleased. On July 31, the end of the symphony's fiscal year, the books were in the black.

"That's positive for any nonprofit," Hyer said.

The happy ending is the result of several factors. Donations from supporters raised a healthy amount, Hyer said, adding that more than once, people have stopped him on the street to hand him a check.
Audience donations at the July Fourth concert - the symphony's 25th - totaled $5,200, surpassing those of any other year. The previous record for a single collection was about $3,400, Hyer said.
"It was a remarkable crowd and a wonderful evening," Hyer said.

And finally, he said, "We were very careful with our spending and worked very hard to make sure we came out well in the end."

Now the symphony is into season 32 ticket sales. The 2010-2011 brochures describing the four subscription series concerts - the debut concert is Oct. 16 - are being distributed throughout the community, and the symphony is about halfway to its goal of about 700 season tickets, Hyer said.

He spoke to ThisWeek in what by press time will be the former symphony office at 61 S. Sandusky St. Packed boxes filled a nearby room, ready to be moved on Aug. 28 to the symphony's new home at 24 E. Winter St.

In an arrangement with the Strand Theatre and Cultural Arts Association, a nonprofit organization to which OWU in 2007 transferred ownership of the Strand building, Central Ohio Symphony board president Linda Shearer on June 17 signed a lease giving the symphony about 7,000 square feet of space in a former bookstore.

The grand opening of the symphony's new digs will be celebrated on Sept. 3, during First Friday activities.

Meanwhile, one of Hyer's responsibilities is helping to keep track of Jaime Morales-Matos - or at least, to keep track of a full-size cardboard cutout of the symphony conductor.

"Where's Jaime?" is a community challenge poised to begin soon.

"My hope is next week," Hyer said.

Morales-Matos - or, in this context, Jaime - will visit more than a dozen spots in Delaware, spending a couple of days in each. Gamers can find information on Jaime's whereabouts on the symphony's Facebook page, as well as on the Facebook pages or websites of the participating merchants and organizations. The new symphony office is among them, of course, and is the only Jaime stop that is required.

Tally cards will be available at each spot and merchants will be armed with stamps. Players who collect at least six stamps may return their cards to the symphony office, where they will be entered in a drawing. The top prize is a pair of 32nd season tickets, but other, smaller prizes also will be awarded.

"It's just a fun way of letting people know about the symphony and what we do," Hyer said.

What he does this week probably will include unpacking. But Hyer will be open for business in East Winter Street office.
"Well, I'll be in there on Monday," Hyer said, clearly thinking about all those boxes and files. "We'll conduct business in some way or other."