Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Beethoven Project – Part 1

By Sue Mutter:

I have a brand new idea for outreach – a completely different kind of vision, one that I believe could cause exponential growth in the number of classical music lovers in Detroit and surrounding areas.

I only wish I had implemented this when it first dawned on me 5 years ago, then perhaps the strike would not have ever happened, but perhaps it is not too late to try it. If we do this, and it works, one day people may be fighting for DSO tickets the way they do for sporting events and rock concerts.

The reason classical music is dying is not that it’s not great, it’s that we are exposing it people the wrong way. I remember vividly how I fell in love with classical music. I was probably 7 or so. Somehow I picked up a recording of Beethoven Sym No. 6 and listened to the first movement. I thought it was sort of nice so I listened to it again. I liked it better the 2nd time so I listened to it again and was surprised to find I liked it even more! So I listened every day and began to fall in love with every part of it. I couldn’t believe how great it was. I could sing along with every part of it and I began to know what was coming next. I was totally in love.

Then I began to get curious about the 2nd movement…if the first was so awesome – maybe the 2nd was also good? Soon I was enjoying it as well, then the other movements, then I began to listen to other Beethoven symphonies – perhaps they were good, too, I thought? Soon I was in love with all of them and began to wonder if Dvorak might also be good? Brahms? I was addicted. The connections were so strong to each as I listened repetitively that I just could not get enough – these pieces were treasures and I was discovering them!

Tomorrow I will describe how I propose we reach people with what I call – ‘The Beethoven Project’. Stay tuned.


Posted in Blog | 6 Comments

Pathway to a peaceful settlement.

March 4, 2011

Dear Esteemed DSO Board Member,

We are writing to you to ask you to convene a meeting of the full Board of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, to consider and vote on our proposal to end the current strike through binding arbitration. The procedure we are asking you to agree to is a simple pathway to a peaceful settlement.

All remaining unresolved issues from the last offer of each side shall be submitted to binding arbitration before a three person panel. The Union would select one arbitrator, the DSO would select one, and these two individuals would select a third.

The parties would present and argue their position on each of the unresolved issues, and ultimately, the panel would issue a final and binding decision which was approved by at least two of the three. The majority could adopt the position of one party over the position of the other, or they could propose something different. Any provisions of the arbitrators’ decision which can be made retroactively, will be so implemented.

If this procedure is agreeable to both parties, as set forth above, the strike could end, and the orchestra could return to the stage immediately, under the terms of the DSO’s final offer of February 15, 2011.

This is a painful step for the musicians, considering they overwhelmingly rejected the Feb. 15 proposal. It may be a difficult step for management as well, since they publicly withdrew the proposal after they failed to secure a majority vote of the musicians.

We believe this to be a fair, equitable, and expeditious way of preserving this great institution for now, and for future generations.

We feel it is important to respond as quickly as possible, in order to salvage whatever is left of this season and prepare for exciting summer and fall seasons, while the arbitration case proceeds to a conclusion.

If this procedure is agreeable to both parties, the strike could end immediately. The DSO would begin generating revenue for the first time in five months. We are extending our hand in friendship with this offer. Please convene the Board of Directors and vote yes on this pathway to a peaceful settlement.

Sincerely,

The Musicians of the DSO


Posted in SOS | Leave a comment

Orchestras in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, Minnesota and Washington show support for striking DSO musicians.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/3/11

Contact: Greg Bowens, Bowens & Co., 248.275.3156, bowensgreg@hotmail.com

DSO STRIKING MUSICIANS SPARK NATIONAL SOLIDARITY
Protests kick off in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, Minnesota and Washington, D.C. this weekend.

Detroit – The striking musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are providing the spark for a national showing of support to occur this weekend in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, and Washington, D.C. The coordinated national showings of support are the first to occur since the strike began last October.

“People from across the country are paying more and more attention to the labor dispute here in Detroit,” said Gordon Stump, president of the musicians locally. “These events in other cities demonstrate clearly that we are not just 80 musicians standing alone in this struggle – we are thousands of people from across the country standing together.”

Members of the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, the Colorado Symphony in Denver, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. plan to participate in various forms to show their solidarity with the striking musicians of the DSO.

Plans are underway to include orchestras in more cities. They follow a pattern of widening support in the labor movement for the striking musicians. Two weeks ago, several dozen unions were rallied by the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO to protest with the musicians. And, the Chicago Symphony musicians distributed leaflets to their audience supporting the DSO musicians in January.

Still fighting for a resolution to the strike, musicians have made it clear that they are willing to return to the table to negotiate. Management, however, has stubbornly refused to continue negotiations, which brings to light a different motive. “Union busting is fashionable these days, but fortunately so is fighting back,” says AFM President Ray Hair. “Regardless of your trade or profession, be it musician, laborer, teacher, or engineer, ‘sticking together’ is no longer a cliché, but the key to surviving the class warfare that is rearing its ugly head throughout our country.”

The widening attention is occurring in the wake of an offer made by the musicians to return to work and end the labor dispute while a binding arbitration process runs its course to a new contract. The musicians offered to submit all remaining unresolved issues to binding arbitration before a three person panel. They would select one arbitrator, DSO executives would select one, and these two individuals would select a third. The parties would present and argue their position on each of the unresolved issues, and ultimately, the panel would issue a final and binding decision which was approved by at least two of the three. The majority could adopt the position of one party over the position of the other, or they could propose something different. Any provisions of the arbitrators’ decision which can be made retroactively will be so implemented.

Meanwhile, the striking musicians are performing community concerts numbers 15 to 20 in March. For more information on the concert series and ticket prices visit www.detroitsymphonymusicians.org.

-End-


Posted in Blog, SOS | Leave a comment

APNewsBreak: Musicians Band Together for Detroit

Musicians from four U.S. orchestras plan to wear bracelets during performances this weekend to support the striking members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a national musicians’ union said Thursday.

American Federation of Musicians spokeswoman Honore Stockley said that players are participating from the Colorado Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. The navy blue bracelets read “AFM Solidarity,” which refers to the national federation that is coordinating the effort…

Click HERE For a link to the entire article on ABCNews.go.com


Posted in Blog, SOS | Leave a comment

DSO Strike Timeline


Posted in Video | 2 Comments

Editorial: Arbitration may point a way out of protracted DSO strike

The 21-week impasse between the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and its striking players union has brought one of this community’s proudest institutions to the brink of extinction. A new proposal, under which musicians would return to work under the terms of management’s most recent contract offer in exchange for an agreement to submit the dispute to binding arbitration, offers a plausible mechanism for resolving the bitter dispute, and the DSO board should embrace it…

Click HERE for a link to the entire article on Freep.com


Posted in SOS | Leave a comment

SOS applauds the steps taken by the musicians today!

This offer to return to work immediately, under the framework of binding arbitration, shows strength and commitment to the organization.

Because the musicians took this step the audiences and musicians can return to Orchestra Hall and the DSO can begin generating revenue through ticket sales immediately. In addition the Woodward Corridor can again receive the benefit of an active and vital cultural institution.

The DSO can begin to regain credibility with their existing donors as well as many potential new donors. These new donors have been introduced to the DSO by the many outreach concerts that the musicians have presented during this impasse.

The entire community and the DSO organization can begin the difficult process of healing – nothing heals better than beautiful music performed by gifted musicians!

All this can begin next week if management agrees to binding arbitration.


Posted in Blog, SOS | Leave a comment

DSO Musicians make unconditional offer to return to work!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/1/11
Contact: Greg Bowens, Bowens & Co., 248.275.3156, bowensgreg@hotmail.com

DSO STRIKING MUSICIANS MAKE UNCONDITIONAL OFFER TO RETURN TO WORK AND END DEBILITATING 22-WEEK STRIKE AS A WAY OF SALVAGING REMAINING SEASON

Musicians say turn on the stage lights and let the sound of music play again at Orchestra Hall or let the Max Theatre complex continue its slow death as entertainers and audiences shun facility

Detroit – The striking musicians of the DSO are offering to return to work and end the labor dispute while a binding arbitration process runs its course to a new contract.

“It is way past the time for this strike to be settled,” said Gordon Stump, president of the musicians locally. “We are here today to offer a procedure which we believe is fair to all sides, and would put the musicians back on stage immediately and unconditionally.”

The musicians are offering to submit all remaining unresolved issues to binding arbitration before a three person panel. They would select one arbitrator, DSO executives would select one, and these two individuals would select a third. The parties would present and argue their position on each of the unresolved issues, and ultimately, the panel would issue a final and binding decision which was approved by at least two of the three. The majority could adopt the position of one party over the position of the other, or they could propose something different. Any provisions of the arbitrators’ decision which can be made retroactively will be so implemented.

If this procedure is agreeable, as set forth above, the strike ends, the orchestra returns to the stage and everyone can salvage what’s left of this season and prepare for exciting summer and fall seasons, while the arbitration case proceeds to a conclusion.

“We believe this to be a fair, equitable, and expeditious way of preserving this great institution for now, and for future generations,” said Stump.

If it’s not, the Max Fisher Center, home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, can continue to lose revenue and stature as artists refuse to perform at the beleaguered facility. The organization is 0-6 in its efforts to secure new performers due to the ongoing labor dispute.

The latest entertainer to cancel is the famous R&B and gospel group Take6. They were to replace Grammy award winning singer Bobby McFerrin’s March 3 performance. The two are the latest in a slew of cancellations including the Brass Band of Battle Creek, Sarah Chang, the Bowfire Holiday Heart Strings and the Canadian Brass Christmas. The cancellations are dashing DSO executives’ dreams of competing with the Fox, Music Hall and other top entertainment venues as word spreads in the entertainment world to avoid performing at the Max in Detroit.


Posted in Blog, SOS | Leave a comment