Canadian orchestras (and Opera) in the news
Windsor Symphony executives will go before city council on Monday, seeking to extend its agreement to manage the city's Capitol Theatre, the Windsor Star reports. Executive Director Sheila Wisdom credits new music director Robert Franz, quality musicianship, and strong programming for the orchestra's recent successes.
This week: We again focus a separate edition on news from London, where musicians continue to garner popular support, while former manager Joe Swan wades into controversy.
Many OL musicians also performed on the Serenata chamber music series, (London Free Press report) and a "community connection" concert this past Wednesday conducted by Uri Mayer (London Free Press report). They are promoting their performances with the Twitter hashtag #WePlayOn.
London Institute Director Amir Farahi wrote an opinion piece for the London Community News, arguing that arts organizations deserve municipal support. Farahi points out that the cultural sector directly contributes $540 million to London's GDP.
Former OL executive director Joe Swan continues to face media scrutiny, including a Free Press investigative report focused on questionable consulting contracts. Among the paid consultants was Swan's son, an 18-year old dance student at the time.
Many OL employees were never paid, the Free Press reports, including accounting firm NPT. The unpaid bill is further delaying the city council's calls for audited financials.
London Mayor Matt Brown and his staff are evaluating a proposal by Centennial Hall to showcase the Musicians of Orchestra London in three concerts this spring, CTV News reports. Centennial Hall manager Don Jones hopes the concerts will prove that the orchestra can be a successful business model. Representing the musicians, concertmaster Joe Lanza said this was the first he had heard of the proposal.
The proposal for a new London performing arts centre remains viable, according to London lawyer and lead promoter Jamie Caskey, the Free Press reported. Caskey represents Music London, an organization which included Orchestra London; a feasibility study by independent consultant firm Novita is now in the works.
Compiled by Matt Heller, OCSM 1st VP. http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php.
A “Call to Action” for assistance to the musicians of Orchestra London Canada
From the OCSM Executive Board
As you know, Orchestra London has ceased operations for at least the remainder of the 2014-15 Season. The staff have been laid off and the office has closed, but the musicians have been busy working with their Board of Directors to find a way to get the orchestra's operations running again. In the meantime, the musicians themselves have vowed to keep symphonic music going in London. They performed more than twenty free “Pop-Up Concerts” throughout the holiday season, and only last night (January 14, 2015) they performed to a packed church with their former Music Director, Uri Meyer.
At this point, we are calling on you to assist your friends in London – here is what you can do to help:
1. Send money to assist the musicians with their efforts. Several orchestras have been in contact with the Executive to start this process already. Cheques can be made out to OLPA (Orchestra London Players’ Association) and can be mailed to:
16 Bloomfield Drive
London ON N6G 1P3 Canada
2. If possible, consider hiring OLC musicians as subs and extras in your own orchestra. This is not only helpful to the musicians financially, it also demonstrates our solidarity with our colleagues to the public, and highlights the exceptional abilities of these talented musicians.
3. Follow the OLPA’s Social Media campaign. The musicians have demonstrated excellent communications so far in this trying time. You can help with “Likes” and re-tweets, sharing the information with music lovers in your own communities, and contributing to their positive message.
And, above all:
4. Fight the negativity! When one orchestra is in trouble, the media tend to lead articles with lines like: “Orchestras in trouble”, “Bad news for arts organizations”, etc. For every negative story, one hundred positive stories go unreported. Find the positive messages and spread them widely. Emphasize the tangible and non-tangible reasons why the arts are important to communities.
We look forward to hearing great news from London as we rally around our friends.
Robert Fraser, President
On behalf of the OCSM Executive
- Orchestra Digest: December 21
- Orchestra Digest: Orchestra London update, Dec. 19th
- Orchestra Digest: December 6th
- Orchestra Digest: November 21
- Orchestra Digest: November 14
- Orchestra Digest: November 1
- Orchestra Digest: October 24
- Orchestra Digest: October 17
- ATL Symphony: Call to Action!
- Orchestra Digest: October 3