This week's bulletin is in two parts, with this first part focused on press coverage of the crisis at Orchestra London.
After Orchestra London cancelled concerts through year's end, a flurry of press reports speculated that the orchestra might cease operations and go into bankruptcy. Executive director Joe Swan and board chair Joseph O'Neill tried to minimize those worries in an interview with the London Free Press last Tuesday, but could not rule out bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the orchestra continued to rehearse for a benefit concert last Wednesday.
On Wednesday, December 10th the orchestra held an emergency meeting with city hall staff, and Swan told CTV News that he would seek an immediate advance from the city, of roughly half its annual operating grant of $500,000. Mayor Matt Brown said he had not yet seen the orchestra's financial statements, but doubted that emergency funding would be offered from the city.
That same day, Swan spoke to Musical Toronto in detail about the orchestra's challenges, and expressed hope that the municipal council might still approve funding at its meeting on December 16th.
The new shortfalls included $110k in back payroll taxes owed to the CRA, CTV News reported. Councillors Phil Squire and Harold Usher (speaking to AM980) expressed grave concern about the orchestra's financials. The city council indicated it would now hear a presentation from board chair Joe O'Neill on Thursday. Board members themselves could be liable for the back taxes, AM980 also reported.
"The organization has really put the musicians in the worst position possible, and in turn the people of London," Coun. Tanya Park said. Others expressed hope that a new organization would take its place. Coun. Phil Squire said: "I'll be supporting an orchestra in the future. That being said, Mr. O'Neill, I would prefer that organization not have you involved in it, given what I've seen of your management of the board."
Compiled by Matt Heller, OCSM 1st VP.http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php.