Category Archives: SOS
And another thing: I live in Birmingham. It takes me 20 minutes to zip down 696/75 to sail on the beautiful Detroit River. I’ve been known to make it to my son’s home in Cork Town in 12 minutes if I’m late for a gathering! What’s all this” too far away” stuff?
I’ve been known to take 45 minutes traveling to Commerce Township and other places out in “pick-a-lake” Michigan (Waterford and beyond), and no one complains about that!
My son-in-law is a 15 year veteran of the Detroit Police Force and he worries about my safety more in the burbs than in The D! I LOVE DETROIT! More on this later!
|Live from Orchestra Hall
Free All-Beethoven Webcast This Friday
|Tune into www.dso.org/live this Friday, May 20 at 10:45 AM to watch Live from Orchestra Hall, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s new series of live HD webcasts, and enjoy the DSO with pristine sound and video.
Friday’s concert is an all-Beethoven program featuring the Third Symphony (“Eroica”) and the Violin Romances with DSO Concertmaster Emmanuelle Boisvert as soloist. Music Director Leonard Slatkin conducts.
Join us prior to the concert, at 10 AM, for the live announcement of the 2011-2012 season with Music Director Leonard Slatkin and special guests.
This program is generously underwritten by Phillip Wm. Fisher and is produced in collaboration with Detroit Public Television.
SOS members Bev, Barry and Sophia helping out at the DSO Will Call table at Sunday’s concert.
…and we encourage you to do the same!
Listen to 90.9 WRCJ.FM any time and you will see that it is filled with great music, intelligent commentary and humor.
SOS learned recently that they have an excellent management team that leads by example exhibiting grace, accountability and excellent customer relations as well!
On Monday May 2nd, SOS was the Day Sponsor for WRCJ. One of the benefits of being a day sponsor is that they will read a short announcement of your choice periodically throughout the day. Unfortunately, some of the announcements got mixed up and SOS was not mentioned.
Upon receiving calls from our supporters, within minutes, the management of WRCJ sent an apology email to SOS with a proposal on how to fix the mix-up
What a great chain of events after a problem was identified:
Apologize + accept responsibility + propose solution + act on solution = Satisfied Customers!
The announcements were re-done the next day and everyone is happy.
This is a perfect example of honest, capable and confident management accepting responsibility and taking care of business. They did the right thing for the right reason with grace and style.
The officers of SOS thanked them by confirming a trusting, working relationship, along with a nice big check!
SUPPORT WRCJ 90.9 because they get it!
MDSO address to the Executive Committee of the DSO’s Board of Directors delivered by musician representatives Shelley Heron and Larry Liberson – April 27, 2011.
In our capacity as this year’s musician representatives, we will provide a report at each board meeting in an effort to open up communications between the orchestra and Detroit Symphony board members.
We wish to begin this series of reports by acknowledging that things have been difficult for everyone at the DSO for some time now. During this period, words failed to provide a path to the future and as a result, each of us needed to act according to our convictions. The actions taken were necessary.
The DSO is at a crossroads even though we now have an agreement in place. Questions abound. How do we move forward? What will it take to bring us together? Where are we headed?
Ultimately, all words will fall away and it will be actions that will define if and how the many questions are answered. What will count at the end of the day is not what we say, but what we do and how well we do it. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.”
What we do and how well we do it has the potential to generate respect and it is respect that will open the door to trust. Respect and trust are what will unite this institution — respect and trust grounded in actions. The fewer the words said, the better.
Our success in moving forward will largely depend on whether we have been effective in getting each other’s attention with the goal being – trust and respect. Again, what we do and how well we do it will dictate the future – our future.
Today, we would ask, “What do you need from the two of US?” What do you need US to do?”
If you are already a member of SOS, please take this poll.
If you would like to become a member, please click HERE and then return to this page to take the poll.
While we celebrate the return of our musicians to Orchestra Hall, let us not forget the tremendous financial sacrifices made by these musicians when they accepted this contract. SOS salutes these fine individuals for their commitment to Michigan and the Arts. Bravo!!
SOS intends to work with all involved parties to ensure that the next contract is commensurate with the skill, talent and level of artistic excellence that is the hallmark of the musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra!
The Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
The Musicians of the Detroit Symphony will be on-stage at Orchestra Hall, today, Saturday April 9, 2011, for the first time in six months. We requested to be allowed to welcome the audience from the stage with the following “live” address but have been told this will not be possible. Our message is important, however, and so we are taking this opportunity to speak to each of you, today, through our social media network.
April 9 and 10, 2011
DSO Patrons, Volunteers and Audience Members,
For the past six months the Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have been touring your neighborhoods playing to capacity audiences in some of the best acoustic settings that Metro Detroit has to offer. We have played in your homes — the homes of Kirk in the Hills, St. Hugo’s Catholic Church and Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills, Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Anne’s Catholic churches in Grosse Pointe Woods and Warren. We have visited two St Patick’s parishes – one in White Lake and the other, our next door neighbor, here in Detroit. We have shared our music in your childrens’ homes and enjoyed every minute we spent with them in the schools of L’Anse Cruese North in Clinton and Groves High School in Beverley Hills. Our holiday music-making took us to the Boll Family YMCA, Tumaini Center, Mariners Inn in Detroit, as well as Ruth Ellis Center in Highland Park. In all, we brought our music to you in nineteen special concerts around the Metro Detroit area.
Thank you for coming to our home, today, and for allowing us to share our gift of music with you from the stage that we love dearly — the wonderful and magnificent Orchestra Hall.
We acknowledge that this season has been difficult for everyone affiliated with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The DSO’s heart is troubled. We needed to address some major issues and we very much appreciated your patience and support while we did that.
The Detroit Symphony is still in intensive care but with your help it will recover. You have a voice. You are the voice of our audience, the voice of DSO patrons, volunteers and our community. We need to listen to your voice because we are nothing without you. We promise we will listen.
Our voice speaks best when we are before you, pouring our hearts out and sharing our love of music with you. Please know that we will use that voice and will be tireless in the pursuit of artistic excellence. We remain committed to the vision of a vibrant city for Detroit and we believe that vision includes a major symphony orchestra.
We make this promise to each and every one of you, today: We will give you nothing but the very best we have to offer. Michigan and the City of Detroit will recover and we will still be here when it does. We are committed and we believe.
The Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
We would also like to express a heartfelt thanks from the musicians of the DSO to our thousands of supporters in Detroit and around North America and the world. It has been a long and difficult road. We were gratified to learn that many other people cared deeply about us and our orchestra.
MDSO is appreciative of the time and energy spent in the intervening months by Senator Levin, Governor Granholm, Andy Levin, Dan Gilbert, Matt Cullen, and the Citizens’ Group in attempting to reach a resolution.
Locally, many lovers of orchestral music coalesced into the powerhouse that Save our Symphony has become in the few short months since it formed in November. SOS will become the focal point of a broad new base of support for the DSO going forward.
From Detroit to the four corners of the United States and Canada: our professional colleagues from the world of music created a wave of support which began before we had even announced that we faced difficult negotiations. Individual musicians, AFM locals and the members of dozens of professional orchestras from ICSOM, OCSM and ROPA wrote to us and sent an unprecedented amount of money to our Contingency Fund, well over $250,000. It mattered so much to us to know that our colleagues saw the struggle here as their own.
We learned once again that the wide world of music and musicians is a small one. The solidarity we have felt in 2010 and 2011 will not be forgotten.
- The Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 4/8/11
Contact: Greg Bowens, Bowens & Co., 248.275.3156, email@example.com
DSO MUSICIANS RATIFY NEW CONTRACT TO END STRIKE
Musicians thank the thousands of people who supported them over the last six months
Detroit – The ballots are counted and the musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra voted to ratify the tentative agreement reached last weekend after marathon negotiations. The vote ends one of the longest work stoppages in symphony orchestra history.
“We are relieved that this struggle is over and we can get back on stage performing the world’s greatest music,” said Karl Pituch, chair of the musicians negotiating committee. “But the problems which led to the strike, and those who were responsible for those problems continue,” he added.
American Federation of Musicians Local 5 President Gordon Stump agreed: “We want to thank the thousands of people from all over the city, the nation, and indeed the world who supported us with their letters, emails, and in many cases their money,” said Stump. “For the sake of those people, ourselves, and the thousands of classical musicians working in symphony, opera, and ballet orchestras throughout the country we are happy that the worst of the proposals were eliminated. We paid a heavy price in terms of the loss of income over the last six months and an almost 25% reduction in our salaries, but we were able to fend off management proposals which would have significantly changed the very nature of the job, and would have given the managements of other orchestras the impetus to try and gain those conditions in their orchestras.”
“In the next few years, we must try to rectify the problems which if not resolved will have us back in this mess again,” he added.
The musicians have also agreed to begin concerts this weekend which are free to the public.
For more information check out our website:
Music lovers throughout Detroit and around the world have multiple ways to hear the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this Sunday:
Watch the concert live at 3pm at www.dso.org/live.
Listen live at 3pm on WRCJ 90.9 FM or www.wrcjfm.org.
Listen to an encore performance at 7:30pm on WRCJ 90.9.
Watch the concert at 7:30pm on WTVS Channel 56.
THE DSO RETURNS and WRCJ is broadcasting them LIVE!
Hear a LIVE broadcast of the Detroit Symphony in Orchestra Hall Sunday at 3p only on 90.9 FM. Then, see the concert at 7:30p on WTVS Channel 56 (with a simulcast on 90.9 FM).
Click HERE for a link to WCRJ and information about the live DSO concert broadcast this weekend.
After two marathon bargaining sessions on April 2 and 3, the Negotiating Committee of the musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra reached a tentative settlement on a new contract late Sunday evening. The details of that contract and of our possible return to the stage of Orchestra Hall must of course await a full orchestra discussion and vote in the coming days.
One thing does not have to wait, however—an expression of heartfelt thanks from the members of the DSO to our thousands of supporters in Detroit and around North America and the world. It has been a long and difficult road. In fact, April 4 marks six months since the strike began. From the beginning we faced a strong attack not only on our livelihoods, but on the great institution we are proud to be a part of. But also from the beginning, we were gratified to learn that many other people cared deeply about us and our orchestra. The first mention must go to our audience members, since they are the reason we exist and the reason to preserve a great orchestra in Detroit. From the earliest days last summer they came forward to say that they heard our message and shared our commitment. They filled the hall in 19 special concerts around Metro Detroit. At those events, their warmth and applause, along with the welcome chance to make music together, sustained the musicians of the DSO in a vital way. They wrote letters of support, made generous contributions, fabricated buttons, and brought a wealth of suggestions (and constructive criticism) to keep us moving forward. So many of them coalesced into the powerhouse that Save our Symphony has become in the few short months since it formed in November. We have a strong conviction that SOS will prove to be the focal point of a broad new base of support for the DSO going forward.
A second key group of supporters can be found from Detroit to the four corners of the United States and Canada: our professional colleagues from the world of music. Their wave of support began before we had even announced that we faced difficult negotiations and has never stopped since. Individual musicians, AFM locals and the members of dozens of professional orchestras from ICSOM, OCSM and ROPA wrote to us and sent an unprecedented amount of money to our Contingency Fund, well over $250,000. It mattered so much to us to know that our colleagues saw the struggle here as their own. The money they sent enabled us to cover expenses entailed in producing concerts and spreading the word of our situation. It made it possible to give emergency loans to our own members in need of assistance and to supplement our national strike fund checks during part of the work stoppage. We learned once again that the wide world of music and musicians is a small one. The solidarity we have felt in 2010 and 2011 will not be forgotten.
A third pillar of strength from Day One has been the American Federation of Musicians. President Ray Hair marched with us in Detroit on Labor Day. The national office never flagged in its support. AFM negotiator Chris Durham flew to Detroit to assist in the crucial last sessions. Our own attorney, Leonard Leibowitz, was a tireless and sustaining presence and strategizer over many, many months. The AFM’s commitment became crystal clear right at home in Detroit. Local 5 President Gordon Stump and Secretary-Treasurer Susan Barna-Ayoub signed their lives over to the musicians of the DSO for the duration. In countless ways they enabled the orchestra members to function more smoothly than we had any reason to hope, week by week.
Without a doubt, challenging and interesting times still await us. Most of all we look forward to a future filled with many wonderful days and evenings of music making in Orchestra Hall and beyond. We look forward to performing for you all and to meeting many of you. Please stay tuned.
-The Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchesta
March 29, 2011
Dear Ms. Weingandt,
Greetings from Save Our Symphony.
Your most recent Message of the Day (included below) is largely devoted to our organization and our positions so, in the interest of fairness and an open dialogue, we would like to respond. We welcome the opportunity for a dialogue on these and other topics concerning the future of the community’s cultural gem, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Perhaps we can help you with the apparent difficulty you have telling the difference between us and the musicians of your orchestra. We are an independent, nonprofit public advocacy group devoted to the preservation of the DSO. Yes we are sympathetic to the musicians. Our voice is our own — the voice of the community. Neither the musicians speak for us nor we for them. We don’t go on stage, are not on strike nor do we have a financial stake in the outcome. You have not been negotiating with us, although that hardly differentiates us since reportedly you haven’t been negotiating with them either.
Your message refers to two categories of email you have received on the subject of resolving the strike by binding arbitration. You correctly identify our support for binding arbitration but have not effectively articulated the argument in favor of it, so let us take a turn.
The strike has dragged on for 6 months. However one might characterize the negotiations or absence thereof, at this point there is an impasse. The board insists on conditions which are unacceptable to the musicians. The gap is intractable. What is the prospect of resolution? None. What’s at imminent risk? At the very least the summer and fall seasons.
Binding arbitration would close that gap, save 2/3 of one year’s programs and set the stage for the board, the orchestra and the community to collaborate to engage the real problem — the dire financial condition of one of the nation’s great symphony orchestras. Binding arbitration would put the strike in the past and bring ALL the stakeholders together.
If you think we cannot or will not help, you could not be more wrong.
The second category of email is firmly in opposition to binding arbitration and provides “lengthier content” in the way of supporting arguments. Although you do not provide attribution for this email, the content so closely follows the stance of the board leadership that we shall take it to have come from them directly.
“Under your current circumstances, I think full binding arbitration is high risk for both musicians and management and could lead to organizational disaster”
The idea that full binding arbitration is high risk for musicians seems odd. Under full binding arbitration on all unresolved issues, the musicians could not do worse from their perspective than capitulating on all their current negotiating positions.
Describing full binding arbitration as high risk for management is similarly odd. It would rescue the summer and fall seasons. Given your mission statement, losing the summer and fall seasons would appear to be an organizational disaster.
Invoking “organizational disaster” disregards the fact that an organizational (financial) disaster is already in full swing. The DSO is technically bankrupt based on the financial statements from fiscal 2008 through 2010. Over that period the DSO lost a staggering $43 million in net assets (typically termed balance sheet equity). Salary compensation for the musicians over this 2 year period was $28.4 million. Over half of the assets on the balance sheet are in real estate. The Max, the major piece of real estate, was the primary cause of the covenant violations and the default on the bond interest payments. In the last 15 years, the number of donors has declined by 80%. Consider the cumulative effect on revenue of such a precipitous decline. (Please let us know if you find any inaccuracies in the preceding financial facts and circumstances that we have discovered based on the financial statements referenced).
Presiding over the destruction of one of the nation’s great symphony orchestras might also fairly be characterized as an organizational disaster given the mission statement and proud history of the institution.
If the board has powerful arguments that the financial viability of the organization can only exist under their proposed terms, why would a fair arbitrator make any ruling other than on those proposed terms? If these arguments are so powerful, why can they not be the subject of full discussion and debate among the whole board? Where in the bylaws does it state that board members shall not be heard?
The DSO in its present state is in a death spiral. The board’s conduct of the strike is causing musicians to leave, causing bitterness among the music lovers in the community and driving away the benefactors who would salvage the orchestra. Binding arbitration is the first step back from the brink.
Thank you for your time,
Dear Members of the Board -
Today’s Message of the Day contains two pieces of information related to Wednesday’s Board meeting:
#1: Be prepared to be greeted by a large group of Musician supporters
The DSO Musicians/Save Our Symphony organization plans on having a substantial presence as you arrive on Wednesday. They will easily overwhelm the stage door alley. With this is mind, our security team as well as the Wayne State/Detroit Police Department will be briefed; the DSO Musicians/Save our Symphony organization is likely to be joined by sympathetic demonstrators.
#2: Wednesday’s agenda is built around the full range of financial and contractual issues facing the corporation.
We have received emails expressing opinions about the DSO Musicians/Save Our Symphony’s plan for binding arbitration. Those emails come with one of two messages. Message one is “please submit to arbitration.” They are straightforward in this advice.
The alternative messages are lengthier in their content. Here is an excerpt from a recent email:
“Under your current circumstances, I think full binding arbitration is high risk for both musiciansand management and could lead to organizational disaster.
Why? A good arbitrator would look at the ‘whole picture’ and make the best decisions on fact-based data. This could be highly unfavorable for all parties due the weak financial condition of the DSO and lead both parties to unintended consequences.
(i.e. a conclusion that the DSO is not viable)
As well, agreeing to a full binding arbitration could potentially cause the Board of Directors to lose institutional control which understandably they would not, and should not, want to yield. An arbitrator could impose financial and operational accountabilities on the Board inconsistent with the long-term viability of the DSO.”
We share these points with you so you can prepare for Wednesday’s meeting. If you have any questions on this material, please don’t hesitate to contact Paul Hogle or Anne Parsons.
Director of Public Relations
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Dear Mr. Slatkin,
We represent a group of concerned citizens who have banded together to find a resolution to the DSO management/musician impasse. We seek an opportunity to meet with you and discuss the audience stakeholder viewpoint. As music director, we understand that you have the task of healing the orchestra. As music director, you also have the task of inspiring and leading the educational efforts of the Civic Youth Ensemble. As it happens, we represent the CYE stakeholders as well – from Civic alumni to current Civic parent.
At this time, scheduled CYE events require Civic students to perform at fundraisers and community outreach events that would normally be performed by DSO musicians, and you are scheduled to conduct those events. Civic students and their parents are in a very uncomfortable position – many are delaying auditioning for the CYE ensembles while other local youth orchestras are preparing for an influx of new members.
As DSO Music Director, you have lent your name to the legacy of this organization. As alumni and parents, we are invested in the outcome of this situation. As a neutral party, you have the freedom to meet with us. Having met with management and musicians, we ask that in this sixth month of the strike, you meet with us. We are available to meet at your convenience.
CALL TO ACTION – CALL TO ACTION – CALL TO ACTION!
PLEASE JOIN US!
Wednesday March 30, 11:30 am
Orchestra Hall, Back Door
Greet the DSO Board of Directors
Wear your blue SOS Wristband
The DSO is suffering historic losses to its ranks. Our musicians are auditioning all over the country and around the world. They are winning jobs and they are leaving. Our orchestra is being torn apart.
What may be the last meeting of the Board of Directors of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as we know it is this Wednesday March 30 at 12:00 Noon. Join us to greet the board of directors to respectfully ask them to consider all available options to end this impasse, stem the losses and put the musicians back on stage immediately.
This will be a polite and positive event! If you would like to make a sign, here are some suggestions: End the Strike – Begin Again! Say YES to Detroit! Say YES to the DSO! Bring the Music Back! End the Impasse! Save Our Symphony!
Make this a fun outing. Bring your friends and family to meet the DSO board and then stay in Midtown Detroit for lunch. The local restaurants are hurting from the strike and need our support! Click on the links below to share this with your social media buddies.
If you will be joining us, please let us know for our headcount: Info@SaveOurSymphony.info