Sue Rae Irelan: Lake Tahoe Music Festival needs your support |

Sue Rae Irelan: Lake Tahoe Music Festival needs your support

The first Lake Tahoe Music Festival performance was July 11, 1982. Since then, the festival has offered many kinds of music in many venues, but at its core created a strong place for classical music in the cultural life of North Tahoe and Truckee.

But today we are in trouble as private contributions to our annual budget have fallen and now lie at a critically low level. Seventy percent of our annual budget comes from individual, business and grant sources. We need an immediate infusion of private and business donations to host a festival in 2020.

From our earliest days, we relied heavily on private donations to produce large music events including offering full size orchestra concerts of experienced professional musicians. After the devastating years of the Great Recession, we refocused our performances using an Academy Orchestra model; one that engages emerging musicians at the beginning of their professional careers. Our Lake Tahoe Academy Orchestra started in 2013 with 12 players and has grown to be a 26-member chamber orchestra offering high quality performances outdoors in the beauty of the Sierra.

In 2020, we are planning a complete musical experience with a broader range of classical music styles including more new music, more engagement with orchestra members, and more interactive activities based on storytelling for the whole family before and during the concerts. Our stories will showcase our rising musical stars, Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and some musical stories familiar from childhood.

If you have ever attended a music festival concert, please donate generously today to keep the Tahoe summertime family music experience alive. If you have never attended a concert, plan to join us Aug. 12-16 and make a donation to keep our cultural life rich and diverse for all our families and visitors.

Visit to learn more.

Sue Rae Irelan

Tahoe City

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