The chairman of ICSOM, Bruce Ridge, recently visited the Colorado Symphony Orchestra for three days, March 9–11. On Tuesday, Bruce met with all the musician representatives of the orchestra during a luncheon at our union hall. Pete Vriesenga, the president of Local 20-623, provided lunch for Bruce and the 20 or so musicians present. There were musician representatives from the artistic, budget/finance, orchestra, and negotiating committees. Bruce gave an impassioned presentation about the current state of orchestras around our country and led a spirited discussion about the current situation of the Colorado Symphony. Following this meeting, the negotiating committee met with Bruce to discuss strategies and challenges facing the orchestra’s upcoming negotiations.
The following day, after a morning rehearsal, there was a full orchestra meeting with lunch again provided by our local union. With about 55 musicians in attendance, Bruce presented a very positive view on the future of orchestras in this country and challenged our orchestra to remain focused and strong during our upcoming negotiations. Many musicians asked questions, and there was an engaging discussion. After the orchestra meeting Bruce had a very positive and informative meeting with the chairman of the board, along with the president/CEO, the CFO, and the vice presidents of the artistic, development, and marketing departments. During this meeting, Bruce also expressed his displeasure at the use of bankruptcy threats during the last negotiation and talked about the harm that this kind of tactic causes an orchestra family.
On Thursday, Bruce again met with the orchestra during our lunch break between rehearsals. Once again there was a large turnout of musicians. During these three days Bruce helped the Colorado Symphony musicians become more unified, understand the importance of our orchestra in our community, and become better prepared to negotiate a new contract. We collectively thank Bruce for his commitment, his time, and his energy that he gives not only to the Colorado Symphony, but to our industry and orchestras across the country.
John Kinzie is the chairman of Colorado Symphony’s orchestra and negotiating committees .