FREMONT -- When the Fremont Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 50th anniversary season this fall, it will not only honor its long tradition of providing culture and the arts to the Tri-City area, but also celebrate something even more important: its survival.

The orchestra's slate of "golden season" performances will come little more than a year after dwindling finances imperiled its future, a problem that afflicted many performing arts organizations after 2008, when the deep economic recession caused donations to dry up.

A host of fundraisers and donations within the past 12 months erased the orchestra's debt -- which had totaled about $45,000 -- and garnered the necessary funds for it to continue, said Lee Foster, the orchestra's executive director. In addition, the Fremont Bank Foundation, the bank's nonprofit charity arm, donated $15,000 to sponsor this season, Foster said.

"It took a year to get our house in order, but now we're launching a new season," she said. "We are truly lucky to have a professional orchestra of this caliber in our community."

The season's premiere performance, titled "World Tour: Unity," is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ohlone College's Smith Center. There, the orchestra will perform popular from around the world. Featured will be melodies from Russia, China, Ireland and India, including tunes from A.R. Rahman's Academy Award-winning score for the film "Slumdog Millionaire."

Orchestra season ticket subscribers will be offered perks, such as the chance to purchase half-price tickets to "A Swingin' Holiday ... and More," a Nov. 9 performance at the Smith Center by the Walnut Creek-based Diablo Ballet and the Diablo Ballet Swing Orchestra.

The orchestra's other three concerts, scheduled for early next year, will include:

  • Feb. 8, Keisuke Nakagoshi, the pianist-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, will perform at the James Logan High School Performing Arts Center in Union City.

  • March 30, "A Celebration of Fremont," a series of performances that will include pianist Jon Mirsalis' musical homage to the Niles district's silent film history; a multimedia presentation celebrating 40 years of the orchestra's children concerts; and performances of original compositions from student winners of the orchestra's Young Composer Competition.

    Fremont Symphony performed in honor of the City of Fremont’s 50th birthday celebration on May 14, 2006.
    Fremont Symphony performed in honor of the City of Fremont's 50th birthday celebration on May 14, 2006. (Bea Ahbeck/file photo)

  • May 3, Quartet San Francisco, a versatile Grammy-nominated group scheduled to play a wide variety of genres, from jazz to tango, pop to funk, blues to bluegrass and more.

    "The repertoire we're creating is an eclectic mix of classical and modern music," Foster said.

    Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.

    If you go
    WHAT: Fremont Symphony Orchestra 2013-14 season-opening performance
    WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19
    WHERE: Smith Center, Ohlone College, 43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont
    TICKETS: 877-238-9240, www.fremontsymphony.org