Dear friends and colleagues,
As you are all no doubt aware, the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have been egregiously locked out by their management for over four weeks, and the musicians are taking a courageous stand to protect their organization and preserve the investment that the citizens of Minneapolis have made in their historic orchestra for almost 110 years. The musicians are paying their own health insurance premiums in order to care for their families, and the management has already canceled all concerts through Thanksgiving, all while all spending over $50 million to renovate the lobby of the concert hall. We have all followed the press accounts of this negotiation and seen the destructive proposals by management that would permanently alter the ability of the organization to serve its community.
It is essential that the musicians of ICSOM respond whenever and wherever our members are in need. It is through our united network of orchestras that we can effectively articulate that a move against one of us is a move against all of us. In this way, we will demonstrate to all of our managements that our communities deserve positive stewardship of their cherished cultural institutions.
The musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra need our financial support. We ask, and encourage, all the orchestras of ICSOM to consider making a financial donation to the cause. A donation from your treasury, or a collection taken by the members of your Players' Association, would be of great assistance. We are confident that all of the musicians in our ICSOM orchestras are eager to stand with their colleagues in Minneapolis.
We realize that this Call to Action is being issued in a year when many of our orchestras have faced their own cutbacks, and musicians everywhere are facing hardships. But it is truly when times are hardest that we must support each other the most and continue to stand with each other in solidarity. Our friends and colleagues in St. Paul have also been locked out, and our friends in other orchestras are also continuing in difficult negotiations. It is possible that additional Calls to Action may need to be issued in the coming weeks.
Wherever an orchestra is in trouble, let us all respond. Wherever a musician is in need, let us all respond. Wherever a negative image of the arts is produced, let us answer with a positive message of hope. As they hear our music, let them also hear our voices.
Let this serve as another "Call to Action" for our membership. What happens in Minnesota will affect us all. If we effectively respond to every Call to Action, we will demonstrate the power in collective action. We can and will make a powerful statement to our managements and boards as we work to spread the positive community message of the musicians of ICSOM.
Checks can be made out to:
Minnesota Orchestra Members
Please send the donations to:
Minnesota Orchestra Members
c/o Jason Arkis
3916 Joppa Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Bruce Ridge, chair
International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM)