BOSTON (CBS) – It started out as a great year for the Wang and Shubert Theaters. Boch Center President and CEO Joe Spaulding said, “On March 12, both theaters were jam packed. We had a spring that was like no other, a summer like we haven’t had in years.”

Of course, things quickly changed for both venues and many other theaters like them. Spaulding has been vocal about the need for federal aid from the start. He said, “It’s hard to get people to understand that since March 12 to this second that we’re talking, our center has had zero earned income. Zero. And we’re not going to open to the earliest we believe is next September.”

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And while questions still remain, a beacon of hope for live music venues and theaters, as the Save Our Stages Act passes as part of the COVID-19 relief bill. After he found out about the news, Spaulding shared, “I burst into tears. I’m about to burst into tears again. We have done nothing but really push Save Our Stages.”

Mark Volpe is the President and CEO of Boston Symphony Orchestra. He said, “This is the first time the government has stepped up to help us in a period where half our revenue comes from ticket sales. And that’s over $50 million a year when you look at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood combined.”

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The legislation allocates $15 billion in funding, with a cap of $10 million per entity. Recipients can use that grant money for expenses like rent, payroll and utilities.

Volpe said, “Our sector, performing arts, is probably one of those most adversely impacted. So it’s wonderful to be recognized as an integral part of the economy.”

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Spaulding shared, “we were able as a group- all of these thousands of members and organizations across this country- to prove a point that we’re important.”

Rachel Holt