Monthly Archives: January 2011

Jack Lessenberry – Symphony worth saving?

Click HERE for the whole article on Michigan Radio

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra strike is about to enter its fifth month with no end in sight. Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry wonders if we’ve considered what is really at stake……

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AFM Encourages Continued Support of DSO

“The crisis in Detroit appears to be the centerpiece of a desire by the leadership of many arts organizations to restructure the United States symphonic industry,” explains Christopher Durham, Director of the AFM Symphonic Services Division. “In my opinion, this leadership does not have the standing or license to make such a change. Their actions are destructive, and confidence and trust will take decades to rebuild.”

Click HERE for the entire article on the American Federation of Musicians website.

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New contract to be offered by DSO management!

Click HERE for the entire article at the Detroit Free Press

Amid speculation that the Detroit Symphony Orchestra might be on the verge of canceling or suspending the remainder of the season, the executive committee of the board took no action this morning.

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Sign our petition!

Ckick HERE to add your name to the growing list of supporters

who want to

Save the Detroit Symphony Orchestra!

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Season not canceled, yet!

Click HERE for a link to the entire article

DETROIT (WWJ) - The Detroit Symphony Orchestra could be silenced for the rest of the season, and possibly even into next season, as the musicians’ strike drags on.  DSO board members have wrapped up an emergency meeting to decide orchestra’s fate.

The orchestra’s 25-member executive committee has been forced to consider scrapping the rest of the season. However, a member of the DSO’s executive committee says no major decisions have been reached and the group will meet again next week.

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Detroit News – January 26, 2011

DSO supporters encourage management to not cancel the season

Michael H. Hodges / Detroit News Arts Writer

Click HERE for the full article.

From The Detroit News:

Detroit— About 75 people turned out this morning at Orchestra Hall to implore members of the executive committee of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra board not to cancel the rest of the 2010-11 season at their meeting today. The decision whether to scrub the rest of this year’s concert schedule on account of the ongoing strike was the most highly contentious agenda item facing the 22 committee members.

Protesters were mostly members of Save Our Symphony, a citizen’s group that’s lobbied the DSO to settle with its musicians as ……

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Letters to the DSO board on Educational Programming

To the DSO Board of Directors:

Is Candy Band your idea of educational programming?

Let me be clear. I am in no way criticizing Candy Band or its members. I am saying that this type of music is not appropriate for the Educational Programming of the DSO, and the Tiny Tot’s series is part of that programming

Years ago, the Tiny Tots and Young People’s concerts were performed exclusively by the musicians of the DSO. These concerts were extremely popular, and frequently sold out. I would also ad that because the concerts were performed by DSO musicians, there was not an extra group of performers being paid.

Since the new DSO management arrived, with its new ideas about education and outreach programs, things have changed. The DSO musicians are no longer used exclusively, and management frequently pays other groups to perform these concerts instead.

Recent Detroit Free Press articles have stated that the $2 million dollars needed to bridge the gap and secure a contract for the musicians had been found, but that the mysterious donors insist that the money be used for educational and outreach programs. Somehow I sincerely doubt that this is the type of programming those donors have in mind.

Mike Wargal, Madison Heights


It’s a beautiful tradition to take tots to the DSO. They will want to return to hear world-class musicians. That’s at least 1/2 of the importance of the event.

Thank you!

Pierette Simpson


Re: Mothers playing rock at Tiny Tots concert.
My feelings are that exposure to classical music played by some of the best musicians in the world leaves a musical imprint that lasts for a lifetime. I would argue that it sets a bar for excellence in other future fields of endeavor as well.
Rock is a great form of music rooted in blues, jazz and Voodoo. But rock, like its central instrument, the guitar, is easy to play a little and hard to play well.
Tots deserve the best we have to offer. Wouldn’t you agree?

RW Heasler


While I’m sure the Candy Band is very enjoyable, in the longer run, you’re not doing those kids a favor. Settle the Symphony issue and restore the original program of exposure to great sounds and an overwhelming musical experience. They can get the Candy Band or a facsimile on their TV any day of the week.

Roland Sharette


I feel very strongly that the DSO Tiny Tots Concerts should feature symphonic music played by musicians of the DSO.

Toddle Tunes, “Best Kids’ Music Class”
-LA Magazine


As a classical musician myself, and as a very long-time music educator for children in the public schools I am appalled at your scheduling of the Candy Band for tiny tots. While I am sure they are perfectly fine and probably lots of fun, is this really what the DSO should be doing to expose children to fine art music?

At a time in our musical history when very small children are exposed to the “wonders” of guitar hero, rock band and other similar pastimes, and at a time when the general public seems so lacking in knowledge of the fine arts due to huge cuts in music education in the schools for the past 4 decades, do we really want to present this to our children as something truly valuable, lasting and worthwhile? Is this what the DSO organization has been reduced to presenting to our children as fine music?

I am so frustrated after spending many many years trying to instill a love for western art music into our children, trying so hard to enhance their cultural lives, to see that even YOU — upon whom we music educators have always depended to present fine symphonic music to the young — have degenerated into silly, funsy-wunsy, “stuff” that they could get anywhere. Seriously: shame on you.

June C. Zydek

B.Mus., M.Mus.,

Current Michigan Teaching Certificate K-12 Music, 7-12 Fine Arts

Professional Organist, Harpist and Dramatic Soprano


Dear Board of Directors,

While I’m sure the Candy Band are a good group, it is not how we should have our children exposed to as quality music. This kind of entertainment will not spark the interest or desire to become wonderful classical musicians.

Please, please, please think hard and long about the future of our children and their potential in following a different musical path.

Caryn Crimmins


I heard about the Candy Land band. Not that the band wouldn’t be good for a circus or a party, but to stand in stead of a classical ensemble . . . no way, as the kids say. My now full grown son, who is now a member of a wonderful orchestra is fulfilling the dream he started when I brought him to a Tiny Tots concert with the National Symphony Orchestra playing under the direction of Howard Mitchell. My son fell in love with the violin that very day and kept asking me when he could play the ‘biolin.’ Dumbing down everything in the name of economy is NOT the way to do anything worthwhile or lasting educationally. You are cutting off your noses despite your faces.

Lauretta Jenkins


Give us the DSO we have always loved. William Duffy


Dear DSO Board,

I understand that there is a Tiny Tots Concert this weekend that
doesn’t in any way resemble the concerts my grand daughters’ and
their friends attended.
When I brought my now 14 year old grand daughters to concerts at
Detroit Country Day they were enthralled. By age five Emma was asking
for flute lessons because she loved listening and watching the
flutest who played. It took quite a determined search to find a
teacher who would take on a five year old and then, of course, she
needed a specially sized flute. Her twin Caity went on to take piano
and horn lessons. They both love and appreciate classical music and
continue to take lessons, play in their high school marching band and
sing in choirs. Of course, i still bring them to concerts…..when we
have them!!

Please don’t change the basic philosophy behind Tiny Tots Concerts.
Keep them as the excellent introduction to classical music they have
always been. Rock music is available wherever you are whether we want
it or not. Live classical music from one of the finest orchestras in
the U.S. is not so easily available. Why change such a fine program?

Hopefully, the current negotiations between musicians and management
will finally result in a settlement. We all look forward to some good
news and a return to Orchestra Hall!

Arlene Gendelman


There is no reason to believe that children of any age cannot appreciate symphonic music if it is presented to them in the right way: i.e. in small quantities but in a non-condescending way. There is, of course, nothing wrong with rock music; but it seems that children get enough of that already. Let’s try to keep Tiny Tots as it was conceived and not deprive future generations of what they should have.


Dear Board of Directors,

I remember taking our son to Tiny Tot Concerts. That is what helped to influence his love for classical music. I urge you to continue the tradition and not substitute other music into the program. If we are to develop the younger audience appreciation for classical music we need to us the best musicians we can find. The DSO needs to continue to offer the highest quality so the the younger audience will fully appreciate the music and their love for it will be nurtured and they will become the audience of tomorrow.


Debbie Lannen


We believe that the complete orchestra should be available for our children so that they can be exposed to the highest quality music available at a young age.

Grady Burke


I feel that the tiny tots concert should feature symphonic music
played by musicians of the DSO because I think it is good for children
to hear the excellent music being offered by these musicians. Thank
you Meena Karol

January 21, 2011


Dear DSO Board:

I was born in Detroit and lived in Grosse Pointe Farms and other suburbs for most of my life. I now live in Raleigh, North Carolina and am extremely sad to learn of the troubles with Detroit’s shining jewel – the DSO. For many years I worked at the lawfirm of Bodman & Longley and one of our senior attorneys, Pierre Heftle,r was very involved with the DSO and DSO negotiations. I too was very pleased when I was working on DSO projects as I felt I was giving back to an organization that had given me so much happiness throughout my life. I can remember as a child – probably started at 4 or 5 – going to Belle Isle for DSO concerts with my parents on warm summer evenings under the stars. It was magical and gave me the love of music and the arts that enriched my life. I started my kids on symphony, ballet, theatre and even opera when they were about the same age. This “education” made them the well rounded adults that they are today.

I feel very strongly that that the DSO should continue the tradition and pass the love of music and joy of a full orchestra on to the next generation. Detroit has lost so much over the years and while I am sure the Candy Band is good – it is not the same as listening and watching the majesty of the full orchestra. The DSO has given Detroit happiness in some of its bleakest moments – don’t deprive future generations of the full DSO experience.

Mrs. Ronald G. Kirian (Diane)


After watching a utube video of the Candy Band I can’t even believe
that it would be a consideration for children. In comparison to the
DSO they lack integrity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sorry for the children
they will be missing an opportunity to for a fine musical experience.
Meena Karol

We are retired musicians from the Detroit Symphony. We are shocked and saddened that this could be a program for our young people, when the purpose and dedication of the DSO is to educate and promote a desire to hear and appreciate symphonic music. Regardless of the popular culture, artists must always remain steadfast in their belief and commitment to the value of the arts in our society and not give in to the fad of the moment. Entertainment has its value,but the pleasure of hearing great music performed by a great orchestra is beyond entertainment. We do not need to nourish the need to be entertained. We desparately need to nourish a desire for greatness.

Lillian and Leroy Fenstermacher


If (the musicians) are not there to play then they should be able to fill the empty spot. The Candy Band can be fun.



“….four metro Detroit moms that infuse rock into traditional nursery rhymes, original tunes and other children’s favorites”.


For goodness sakes, be creative, fund the DSO.

Stephan T. Freer, Ph.D.


To the DSO Board:

Remember Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts? Now, “…four metro Detroit moms….?” What, exactly, does this say about your vision as the board of a major American orchestra?

At the very least, you might think about how you, the current board, will be remembered. This won’t help, you know.

Sorry this sounds snide, but honestly, people……


Jeffrey Johnson


I like to bring my grandchildren (4 of them) to tiny tot concerts.
They will not be coming to hear rock. They can hear that anytime.
Get your troubles with the orchestra and get back to providing our
community with high quality symphonic music.

Mrs. Rittinger


‘so important for our children to hear and see classic music at its finest. The DSO does it best. Always good to have additional areas of music for children to be a part of, but all children, typical and special needs need to have the immersion of fine music.They get it more than we as adults realize.

A Mom and Special Education Teacher.


Dear Board,

I am deeply disturbed by the choice that the Board and the management have made to destroy the cultural institution of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra – the world class orchestra that we know and love – and to downgrade it into something else. Having a mom’s rock band (no matter how good it is) to substitute for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for the Tiny Tot’s program is an example of a new low in this process. I hope that someone, somehow will reverse the direction that YOU have been heading and get our orchestra back.

Hugh Gulledge, RPT

Piano Technician, Detroit Symphony Orchestra


Dear Sir/madame,

I am shocked and outraged that the DSO would subject children to a concert of the Candy Band. This is rock and roll! These children are subjected to rock and roll from the moment of their birth. Rock and Roll is not symphonic music! The title of your organization is “Detroit Symphony Orchestra.” When did you get rid of the words “Symphony Orchestra?”

If I could find a way to fire the board who is mismanaging this wonderful organization, I would do it now.

I will never take my children to any of your concerts in the future until there is a new board.


Patricia Willington



Is Detroit going to feed the ears of our youth with rock? Are we throwing our children to the masses of garbage sounds; sounds that they will inevitably be exposed to later in life. Consider this: would you prefer to feed your children a nourishing meal or McDonalds. I grew up in Pontiac, MI with the benefit of learning how to play and appreciate music. I evolved from the rock bands, through the jazz ensembles and became a professional classical bassist. I teach appreciation courses for all three of these genres and I can tell the public that classical music has a higher aesthetic because of the long tradition, exceptional composers, and highly trained performers. Our children deserve the opportunity to listen to the high quality live music that the Detroit Symphony Orchestra offers!


Dr. Tod Leavitt

Lecturer In Music

Valdosta State University


I wish to express my profound dismay at learning the upcoming DSO Tiny Tots
Concert will present just a four-piece rock band, and absolutely no
musicians from the Detroit Symphony.

Opportunities for young people to hear rock music are legion.
Opportunities for them to hear live orchestral music are becoming more and
more rare. As the DSO is an organization devoted to the presentation of
live orchestral music, the Candy Band concert is at best peripheral, at
worst self-defeating and a waste of time and effort in terms of the DSO’s
raison d’être.

I grew up in San Francisco, and cherish my memories the San Francisco
Symphony giving concerts for school children every year. These were
extraordinarily important formative experiences for me, to the point where
they helped to clinch my decision to become a professional musician.

My brother had the even more wonderful opportunity to attend SFS concerts
weekly for free in his high school years (sadly, the program was
discontinued by the time I was in high school). These proved a vital
educational experience, introducing him to countless musical masterpieces,
and greatly deepening his cultural understanding.

The DSO must be directly involved in producing such crucial formative
musical experiences for youth in Michigan. This is not to say that our
youth shouldn’t hear other kinds of music as well; certainly, they should
hear the widest possible variety of music. But the DSO exists to present
orchestral music, and that must include concerts for children.

The Ann Arbor Symphony regularly gives children’s concerts. I cannot
understand why Detroit shouldn’t be able to provide something that is taken
for granted in Ann Arbor.


Timothy Tikker


Board members,

Why switch from symphony orchestra education to programming that is
merely a continuation of the pop culture that’s been deluging the
public ad nauseum? While the Band to be featured may be good enough
for the style, use the platform instead to present an orchestral
awareness program of appropriate, exciting performances. If cost is a
consideration, place available funds to the DSO to realistically show
itself and its repertoire.

Sincerely, John Mohler

Dear Board,

I am shocked to see that Candy Band is the feature in the Tiny Tots Concert. Speaking as a musician, instrumental music teacher, and a mom, the purpose of the Tiny Tots concert is to expose the children to the symphony and to great classical music. We should not digress from this purpose.

Samar Atallah

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DSO Educational Programming…..

DSO Educational Programming

Here is a link to the band that is performing on the stage of Orchestra Hall next Saturday as part of the DSO Tiny Tots series:

Management describes the band thus:

Candy Band…. Featuring four metro Detroit moms that infuse rock into traditional nursery rhymes, original tunes and other children’s favorites.

Now while we have no quarrel with Candy Band, and we have no judgments about its members or the type of music they play, we have very serious concerns about management’s decision to schedule this band on the DSO Educational Series.  We feel the decision to program this event calls into question management’s entire philosophy about what classical music education programming should be.

(Full disclosure, this concert was previously scheduled and is NOT a replacement for the striking DSO musicians)

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DSO Musicians announce 5 February Concerts

Click  HERE for a link to the original post.


Detroit—The musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have announced five concerts for February. Those will follow their next concert, Saturday, January 22, 8 pm, which will be videocast live over the internet.

Two of the concerts introduce a new series, the musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in concert together with students in a high school music program—the first, Tuesday, February 8, with L’Anse Creuse North High School students at John Armstrong Performing Arts Center in Clinton Township; the second, Wednesday, February 16 , with Groves High School students in Beverly Hills.

The musicians’ first February concert, “Pituch Plays Mozart,” will be Saturday, February 5, 8 pm, at Kirk in the Hills (1340 West Long Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills), with David Mairs conducting and DSO Principal Horn Karl Pituch soloist in Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat major, K.417. Also on the program: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048 and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90, the Italian Symphony.

The February 8 program with L’Anse Creuse High School North students at the John Armstrong Performing Arts Center (24600 Frederick Pankow Blvd., Clinton Township) will feature the L’Anse Creuse Select Ensemble under Choral Director Evey Simon, with pianist Charlotte Beach. On the program: Pachelbel’s Canon in D major, Faure’s Sanctus and In Paradisum from the Requiem, and Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony.

The second in the In Concert Together series, with Beverly Hills’ Grove High School students, will feature the students, conducted by Paul L. Sawyer, in Mvt. 1 of the Brandenburg Concerto No.3, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, Mvt. 3, Elegie, and Holst’s St. Paul’s Suite, Finale “The Dargason.”

The DSO musicians, conducted by Christopher Confessore, will perform Barber’s Violin Concerto, Mvt. 1 (with Groves High School student Margaret Starr as soloist); and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67.

Next, on Sunday, February 20, 7:30 pm, will be “Tocco Plays Rachmaninoff” at St. Hugo (2215 Opdyke Road, Bloomfield Hills), with James Tocco playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Also on the program: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. The concert will be conducted by Mr. Confessore.

Closing February’s concerts, Sunday the 26th, 8 pm, will be the Cut Time Players at First Presbyterian Church of Royal Oak (529 Hendrie Blvd.). In honor of Black History Month, the chamber music ensemble founded by DSO bassist and 2010 Kresge Artist Fellow Rick Robinson and seven colleagues, will play selections from Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington, Antonin Dvorak, Grant Still, Adolphus Hailstork, and Robinson in a Classical Roots concert.

The conductors, soloists, musicians, and stage crews will be donating their services to support the DSO’s musicians, who are in the 16th week of their strike to save the internationally renowned orchestra from being turned by management into a second class orchestra.

Tickets are $25 for general admission, $35 for preferred seating, and $50 for premium seating for the “Pituch Plays Mozart” and “Tocco Plays Rachmaninoff” concerts; $20 for general admission and $50 for premium seating for the Cut Time Players concert; $25 for general admission and $50 for premium seating for the L’Anse Creuse concert; and $20 for general admission and $50 for premium seating for the Groves concert. Tickets can be purchased in advance at or at the door pending availability.

For more information about the musicians, visit:

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Chicago Symphony Musicians Leaflet For Detroit

Click HERE for the full article on


Locked in a bitter labor dispute, our colleagues in the Detroit Symphony
Orchestra (DSO) have been without work for seventeen consecutive weeks.
The musicians have agreed to substantial concessions to help alleviate a
financial crisis, only to be met with further demands threatening the nature and
quality of this excellent orchestra.

Our conductor tonight, Leonard Slatkin, is the Music Director of the DSO.  We
ask him to use his influence to persuade the Board of the DSO to negotiate in a
spirit of compromise and respect. The musicians of the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra support the DSO musicians in their efforts to achieve a contract that
will preserve their orchestra.

Our colleagues in Detroit face personal and collective catastrophe as this
season and next are in danger of being cancelled.

We urge you to visit the website: and to
send an email supporting the musicians of the Detroit Symphony

The Musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra thank you for your
interest and support.

Chicago Federation of Musicians, Local 10-208
American Federation of Musicians

This appeal is to the public.  We are not asking any individual to refuse to pick up,
deliver or transport any goods or to refuse to perform any services.

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Excellent News!

Dear all 3500 SOS members and other concerned citizens of the City of Detroit, the State of Michigan, and the World – your voice has been heard!

Musicians and management to begin talks again.

Check out the link above to an article in the Detroit Free Press.

We would like to think that our work has played at least a small part in getting the talks started again.

Thanks for all your support!

The Save Our Symphony Board of Directors

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From Michael Kaiser of the Huffington Post

Click  HERE to see the entire column on the Huffington Post

Michael Kaiser

President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

We live in a time when the arts are threatened from every direction, when arts education is relegated to an extra for only a few, privileged children, when the economic environment forces reductions in programming and access, when much of the press has given up on covering the arts at all and when naïve cries of elitism threaten the work of those thousands of arts organizations bringing inspiration, education, entertainment and role models to our least advantaged citizens. And we live at a time when our political leaders seem frightened to do any more than give bland verbal support for the arts.

How refreshing it is to think back to an era when we had a First Family who truly relished the arts at their highest level of accomplishment. The Kennedys brought the great Spanish cellist Pablo Casals to the White House for a chamber music recital that made front page news. They invited Grace Bumbry, the spectacular African American opera singer, to perform there as well.

The Kennedys produced a series of performances “For Young People By Young People” that gave young performers a chance to shine and young audiences the inspiration to try the arts themselves.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis made friends with those in the world of music, painting, dance and theater. Poets, writers and great thinkers were courted and feted. Her friendships with great Americans like Leonard Bernstein and Robert Frost are well chronicled, and her involvement with American Ballet Theatre is legendary. Her children carried on this great tradition of involvement and support for the arts. Caroline Kennedy is, to this day, the Honorary Chairman of ABT.

Inclusivity was key, but so were standards of excellence and elegance. When the nation watched these performances unfold at the White House — and they did — they knew they were seeing something special. They also came to believe that the White House was a special place, and that political leaders must also be leaders of thought. We aspired to the finest things in life, not simply the most expensive.

Presidents before and since have been arts supporters. Jimmy Carter was the first sitting President to attend the Metropolitan Opera, and President Obama has hosted several arts events at the White House.

But no president, apart from President Kennedy, cited accomplishment in the arts as one of the highest aspirations of a nation.

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Excellent article on National Public Radio

What is broken in Classical Music and how do we fix it?

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Letter from David korff

There are times when to remain silent is the only regret.

As a Board that has been honored and trusted to serve and preserve the
extraordinary gift of a musical ensemble such as the Detroit Symphony
Orchestra, your silence in the face of misdirected authority is
regrettable bordering on tragic.

Michigan is a State of magnificent geography, pride and inventive
curiosity in art and science.  We have suffered an economic blow from
which creative minds and entrepreneurs continue to challenge us to step
forward and to act.  They are not silent.

When we discuss “World Class” it is hoped that you truly understand the
scope of the term.  Many audiences have heard the DSO, “live and in
concert” – many millions more have heard the DSO recorded and have
shown their delight, not in silence, but in a plead for ENCORE.

Our actions, thoughts and passions have been expressed in the letters
you have received from hundreds of dedicated patrons, donors and those
dedicated to music throughout Michigan and well beyond.  They are not

At St. Clair County Community College, we have been privileged to host
many of your musicians – an outreach and a thumbs-up to the Thumb.  We
are a small venue ( 350 seats ), but you may be sure that the pleasure
and applause was anything but silent.

As you prepare for negotiations on behalf of The Detroit Symphony,
please do not silence the music.

David Korff, Chair
Visual and Performing Arts Department
St. Clair County Community College
Port Huron, Michigan

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Letter from Kathy Drozd

Dear Ann,
It has come to my attention that Mr. Slatkin is double booked this weekend!  He is apparently subbing with the Chicago Symphony, but is scheduled to conduct the Detroit Symphony simultaneously.  As a supporter of the Detroit Symphony I am concerned that he might be getting paid by the DSO even though he will most likely not be conducting the DSO this weekend, and considering our financial situation, this does not seem fiscally responsible.  Could you please verify whether this is true?
Warmest regards,
Kathy Drozd
DSO Patron

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Op-ed: DSO strike shows management is inept

Published: 01/16 11:27pm By: Danny DeRose

Now, in the longest strike in the history of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the battle between the musicians and their management has taken a decidedly nasty turn.

While the management has laid a manipulative web of unrelated reasoning for its poor judgment and inability to do what it is hired for, the musicians have countered with a well-executed public relations campaign backed by facts and talent – things that DSO management seems to consider superfluous.

“While striking DSO players were continuing their agenda of misguided and impulsive communications, the DSO’s board negotiating team was finalizing a new offer aimed at ending the current work stoppage.”

DSO management sent this alarming, unsigned statement to all patrons of the orchestra Jan. 12, just after the musicians held a press conference detailing how the lengthy strike is hurting local restaurant owners. What the bewildered management team doesn’t seem to realize is that this statement says much more about them than it does about the musicians.

Saying that the musicians’ agenda is misguided and impulsive doesn’t fit their stated and simple goal of fighting the dumbing-down of the orchestra.

This strike has never been about lowering of salaries; the musicians themselves have put forth a cut of 22 percent, along with many other concessions.

This fight is about respect.

Respect for a full, internationally recognized orchestra, not a two-tiered system full of substitutes and low-caliber musicians.

Respect for the valuable concept of tenure, which creates both job security and personal investment in the ensemble.

Respect for a full season with the best talent the world has to offer. The music lovers of metro Detroit deserve better than second-rate conductors and soloists.

Respect for the gem that the Detroit Symphony is. Few cities can say what we can about our orchestra. Apparently, management still can’t comprehend that, as their vacuous promise of a new offer would seem to indicate.

The musicians, working with a miniscule budget, have run a series of concerts on their own. This leads me to wonder why the orchestra’s management, with much broader financial capabilities, can’t seem to raise money and fill seats, which is precisely what they are hired to do.

What this vile strike has done, more than anything, is shed light on how inept the DSO’s management is and says nothing of their appalling ignorance of the talent of our orchestra.

The only sane reaction, after watching management’s faltering tactics, is to start over with an acceptable plan for our orchestra.

Enough with lawyers, public relations firms and consultants. Let’s find people who love our orchestra and want what’s best for it. The musicians of the DSO, to say nothing of its patrons, deserve no less.

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Maestro Slatkin conducts the CSO this weekend

Dear SOS members,

The Chicago Tribune has just announced that Leonard Slatkin is subbing with the CSO this weekend. However the DSO is still selling tickets to a concert at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall where Mr. Slatkin is scheduled to be conducting.

Is Mr. Slatkin getting paid by the DSO for this week? If so, why is he not here doing something, anything? Meeting with Donors perhaps?

If this bothers you as much as it bothers us, please let Mr. Slatkin know. Here is the email address of his personal assistant who will forward your email to him:

If you would like to ask Anne Parsons if Mr. Slatkin is getting paid for this week, here is her email address:

If you would like to ask why the DSO is still selling tickets to a concert where the scheduled conductor , Leonard Slatkin, will be absent, here is Juanda Pack’s email address:

And if you would like to ask the DSO Board of Directors why they are paying Maestro Slatkin to NOT conduct the DSO, when they claim to not have the money to pay the musicians, here is the email address where your emails will be forwarded to them:

Save Our Symphony.

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DSO Board: The world is watching!

SOS members: Here is YOUR ad in the

North American International Auto Show Program.

DSO Board: The world is watching!



Please Download this page to print and share! 8.5″ x 11″ page (pdf, 136 KB)

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1969-1970 DSO: “Will Community Allow Its Orchestra to Die?”


Excellent essay by Joe Kidd

Musicians on strike …

Joe Kidd, Flying Shoes Review, Published January 13, 2011.

That’s what we are reading in the newspapers in Detroit Michigan these days. Musicians refuse to play music, refuse to perform. But the truth is the musicians of the world class Detroit Symphony Orchestra are not refusing to play. Since the strike against management began several weeks ago, the musicians have organized and offered several performances across the area for classical music patrons that have been deprived of their passion. These events have included free concerts for worthy causes and televised events for fans at home. This dispute has become an embarrassment to the management and has spiraled into a mudslinging public argument that is becoming reminiscent of the political exchanges of the 2010 mid term election cycle. It is ugly, dishonest and senseless.

The more I contemplate this situation, the more absurd it becomes. The notion that a musician can go on strike attacks the true nature of what a musician actually is. Is it not true that an artist / musician is driven not by monetary reward, but rather by the necessity to create? Is it not true that an artist / musician must practice their calling regardless of physical circumstance? Is it not true that there are countless talented musicians on virtually every street that are receiving no monetary reward at all for their work?

The answer to all of those questions is …

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