PORTLAND, Ore. — Braizhan Jones plays bass in the Oregon Symphony. He expected a full schedule of performances in 2020.
“I was in the full headspace of travel for Spring and travel a ton for Summer so I was really spread thin and then all of a sudden it all contracted and became very dense,” explained Jones.
When the pandemic silenced the symphony, Jones started teaching bass virtually
"The financial impacts are you know, tough," said Jones. "They’ve been tough because you just can’t predict what’s coming and normally with finances, you want to know what’s coming.”
Struggling artists like Jones are now getting a financial boost from philanthropist Jordan Schnitzer.
"The arts have always been the heart and soul of any community," said Schnitzer "The arts inspire us, they take us away."
He is donating $1,000 to each of the 17 dancers for the Oregon Ballet Theater (OBT) and $1,000 each to 77 musicians with the Oregon Symphony.
“It’s been very, very hard to keep hope alive and this very significant gesture is going to just brighten their lives," said Kevin Irving with OBT. “We are grateful for the extra boost that this will give to our musicians at this difficult time of year until we can come back and perform again," added Scott Showalter with Oregon Symphony.
For Jones the gift means everything.
"I’ve had to buy gifts for people that I would normally go see," said Jones. "Having that little bit of flexibility at this time of the year especially with all the uncertainties regarding another stimulus it’s just very very good timing."
Jordan Schnitzer says he is nowhere near done investing and supporting the community in various areas where he sees a need. He will soon announce a $100,000 donation to help people get food. "At a time like this, those that can, must reach out and help others," said Schnitzer.