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For 50th anniversary season, TFO sells its most tickets ever

For the second year in a row, The Florida Orchestra has set a record for ticket sales, with 125,700 paid seats in the 2017-18 season. That’s two consecutive seasons above the 100,000 mark. Add in free tickets and community concert crowds, and the count climbs to more than 215,000. Not bad for our 50th birthday party. Thank you, Tampa Bay!

At least 18 sell-out concerts fueled the record attendance, topped by our premier 50th anniversary gala concert featuring Sting, which sold out the Mahaffey Theater in a week and raised a record $1.5 million. Other standouts included Handel’s Messiah, with an eye-popping nearly 10,000 patrons in three days; Carmina Burana; Holiday Pops; Romeo and Juliet & West Side Story; Music of Star Trek vs Star Wars; Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY; and film concerts of the first two Harry Potter series, performed in conjunction with the Straz Center.

Using the latest figures, The Florida Orchestra’s ticket sales have soared 45% since 2010.

The orchestra also performed for just under 80,000 people at community concerts, most for free. Plus we provided 17,000 free tickets to the concert halls in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, including about 1,000 Classical Kids and Teens tickets for Masterworks programs.

The attendance records are double exclamation points at the end of a 50th anniversary season that has been a tremendous success. Other milestones include the debut of the new $1.8 million stage shell providing state-of-the-art acoustics at the Mahaffey Theater and the co-naming of First Street as Florida Orchestra Way in downtown St. Petersburg – a permanent sign of TFO’s dedication to serving Tampa Bay that will last well beyond our 50th season.

No matter how you add it up, TFO’s 50th anniversary season has been extraordinary. Which inspired us to add it up anyway. Here’s what we found:

14 million views for Triangle Solo video
During a Coffee concert, John Shaw and Stuart Malina did a parody of the GEICO commercial, which went viral on the Classic FM site.

2.2 million people reached through Facebook over the season, with 37% increase in followers

1.2 million views at, a 51% increase in web traffic

$1 million in ticket sales solely through TFO’s website – a record

22,000 elementary students at 14 youth concerts in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties

21,252 doughnuts served at Coffee concerts in St. Petersburg and Clearwater

10,700 kids and adults trying instruments at TFO’s Instrument Petting Zoo events

400 works of music – at least – performed by the orchestra
Ranging from Spider Pig at “Sing Out! Tampa Bay” to Verdi’s Requiem, totaling about 20,000 pages

210 buses bringing various groups to 14 Coffee concerts

144 pencils and 24 brick erasers used by music librarians to notate and clean music

142 bananas for Music Director Michael Francis (his preferred snack)

130 full orchestra concerts at more than 20 venues throughout Tampa Bay

41 total guest soloists and conductors from around the world, in addition to 6 collaborations with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay

12 radio broadcasts
Live recordings from this season aired on WSMR 89.1 & 103.9 FM, plus one historical recording

8 world premieres
Includes 50th anniversary commission Triptych, a 20-minute love letter to Florida by Tampa native Michael Ippolito; 5 Florida Fanfare Project commissions by Florida professors; 1 fanfare by TFO Principal Guest Conductor Stuart Malina; and 1 fanfare by the winner of the TFO Student Composition Competition.

1 Sith Lord conducting

Bonus! How much will fit in a Honda Fit packed for an Instrument Petting Zoo community event?

  • 4 chairs
  • 5 music stands
  • 8 violins
  • 1 trumpet
  • 1 trombone
  • 1 French horn
  • 1 flute
  • Box of percussion
  • 1 Cello
  • 1 Cello stand
  • 2 wagons
  • Box of marketing supplies
  • Box of miscellaneous art supplies
  • AND multiple large foam board signs

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