On behalf of all the Honolulu Symphony Musicians, we would like to express our gratitude to all the ICSOM orchestras and individual musicians who have stepped forward with donations and good wishes for us. The overwhelming response to the Call to Action has been breathtaking and deeply meaningful: as of February 25, 2010, we have received a total of $104,977 from 39 ICSOM orchestras. While we knew that ICSOM would come through for us, we could not have expected this level of support, especially during difficult economic times. We also would like to thank the trustees of the AFM Strike Fund for their commitment to provide much-needed benefits in this time of great need.
Some orchestras have asked what we have been doing with the donations. We’ve initially used a portion of the money to make an initial “stipend” payment to all full- and part-time contracted musicians in order to help with expenses such as health care costs, which we now have to pay ourselves. While the full core has been employed during opera season, we have been able to hold onto the rest for now, with a view towards keeping it as an emergency reserve for as long as possible while the bankruptcy process grinds on.
These have not been easy times for us, but the knowledge that we have the support of our colleagues across the nation has both warmed our hearts and helped give us the will to keep fighting to keep a professional symphony orchestra in Hawaii. We have been particularly moved that the musicians of ICSOM orchestras have reached out to us at a time that has been so uncertain for our industry. So many musicians have been there for us even while they themselves faced crisis at home.
We also want to thank Bruce Ridge and Brian Rood and the rest of the governing board of ICSOM for their unwavering commitment to us. We are glad to have such good friends only a phone call or email away. We also plan to continue to rely on the good advice of all the musicians of ICSOM, especially those who have already been through a bankruptcy. We are not the first to have to deal with this, and the experience of those who have come before us has been and will continue to be an immense help.