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SPAC orchestra attendance, ticket take was up

Concert attendance for the 2009 residency of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center increased dramatically over last year's lackluster numbers, but still did not match attendance for 2007.

Attendance for the three-week season was up 14 percent, venue officials announced on Monday, Aug. 31, at 33,554 versus 29,540 in 2008. Income from ticket sales went up 16 percent to $861,216.

The end of the orchestra's residency also marks the end of SPAC's annual classical season. Total attendance was down 1 percent from last year, a fact officials attributed to the shortening of the New York City Ballet's residency to two weeks from three weeks.

Last year, SPAC's classical season recorded a 9 percent decrease in attendance, as well, which contributed at least in part to the decision to shorten the ballet season. Last year, venue officials chalked up the slow season to poor weather.

This year, however, management is quick to note that with fewer ballet performances, it's difficult to compare 2008 to this season wholesale. While total attendance for the ballet residency dropped, per-show attendance was up 24 percent this year.

Overall, we are extremely pleased with the results of this year's classical season. Attendance was up for every SPAC program, from our Extended Season through the Orchestra, said SPAC President and Executive Director Marcia White in a statement.

In addition to LiveNation concerts scheduled at SPAC, the venue's annual Wine and Food Festival is fast approaching. The Italian Trade Commission is the major sponsor of this year's event, which runs Sept. 10 to 12, and appropriately, Italian wine, food and Ferraris will be staples.

For information, visit www.spac.org.

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