“Bernstein100Austin” Event Grants Its Proceeds to Collaborators


The Austin production in June of Leonard Bernstein’s “MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers” was such a financial success, there’s more to go around for everyone involved.

Merck Strategies — a consulting and production firm founded solely to produce events around the composer’s centenary known as “Bernstein100Austin”  — announced that “MASS” ended up with a profit of $116,000.

And that profit is being distributed to the 31 arts organizations who collaborated to bring Bernstein’s monumental piece to the Long Center for two performances in June.

“We didn’t intend or expect to have proceeds from Bernstein100Austin,” says Mela Sarajane Dailey, a Grammy-winning soprano and co-founder of Merick Strategies. “All the decisions made along the way were to achieve the best artistic result and to give paid work to the largest possible number of artists. We couldn’t be more thrilled that because of the tremendous response and attendance that we are able to give back to our amazing collaborators.”

The “Bernstein100Austin” production cost more than $1 million and, according to organizers, resulted in the largest single payday for artists and staff for a production at the Long Center.

Dailey’s husband, Austin Symphony Orchestra music director Peter Bay, conducted Austin’s “MASS” which involved a cast of nearly 300 performers. As a boy, Bay had seen the 1971 premiere of Bernstein’s musical theatre work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Nonprofits receiving grants from Merick are:

  • African Children’s Choir
  • Arbor Series Luncheon – Austin Symphony Orchestra
  • Armstrong Community School
  • Artful Learning
  • Austin Chamber Music Center
  • Austin Children’s Choir
  • Austin Classical Guitar
  • Austin Community College
  • Austin Opera
  • Austin Symphony Orchestra BATS
  • Boys and Girls Club of the Austin Area
  • Bullock Texas State History Museum
  • Chisholm Trail Middle School
  • Chorus Austin
  • Conspirare
  • Golden Hornet
  • Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards at the Long Center
  • Huston-Tillotson University
  • KMFA
  • LOLA – Local Opera Local Artists
  • McCallum High School Theater Department
  • Panoramic Voices
  • Pease Park Conservancy
  • People’s Community Clinic
  • Performa Dance
  • Seton Breast Care Center
  • Social Creativity @ Creative Action
  • St. Louis Catholic School Arts program
  • Women’s Symphony League
  • ZACH pre-professional program
  • UMLAUF Museum & Sculpture Garden




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