Orchestra Marches to Its Own Beat with Running Fundraiser

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Team

I know a lot of runners that listen to music when they run. But a group that runs for music? That’s a first in my book.

And that’s just what BOLT for the BSO is all about. It’s a group of supporters, volunteers, staff and musicians dedicated to raising awareness and funding for the the Grammy Award‐winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

As an official charity of the Baltimore Running Festival, BOLT gives runners the option of running a 5K, half‐marathon, marathon or relay, and a personal Mightycause page to display their progress toward their fundraising goals. In 2011, the team raised $52,000, exceeding their fundraising goal, which went to the BSO’s annual fund.

This year, the team boasts 160 runners and is aiming to raise $60,000 on October 13th.

“It all started with people who love the BSO,” said Jennifer Barton, individual giving officer for the Orchestra. “Two years ago BSO Governing Member Cindy Renn and her friends from the orchestra, violinists Ellen Troyerand Ivan Stefanovic, recruited ten runners to form the first team. They raised $15,000.”

Like most musicians, this group knows how to mix hard work with fun.

The group is hosting a BOLT for the BSO Happy Hour on Thursday, October 11. For a $10 contribution at the happy hour, donors will receive a free drink and $1 off all subsequent drinks. Celebrity bartenders’ will be donating their tips to BOLT for the BSO. It will be a great opportunity for supporters to meet musicians from the Orchestra.

As someone who’s organized his share of charity running events, I think BOLT for the BSO is a great fundraiser. It shows that the best way to raise money for something you care about is to join it with something else you care for. Connecting an orchestra with running may seem off-key, but the result was like music itself: moving and fun.

But I was curious. “Okay, we’ve all seen runners listening to music with headphones. And Bolt runs to support music. But have you ever seen a person running AND playing a musical instrument at the same time?” I asked Jen. There was silence on the other end of the phone.

“No,” she said. Another pause. “But that’s a pretty good idea!”