Letter from ICSOM Chairman Bruce Ridge

October 23, 2008 at 10:48 am | Posted in Support | Leave a comment

Bruce Ridge

Bruce Ridge

Mr. Doug Gerhart, Executive Director
Mr. Thomas Grantham, Board Chairperson
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Bruce Ridge,
Chair, International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM)

October 12, 2008

Dear Mr. Gerhart and Mr. Grantham:

The musicians of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) and indeed artists all across the country have been following the recent events that surround the negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (WCO).

The musicians of the WCO have the absolute support of musicians across the country. It is critically important that you, as stewards of the community, quickly reach an agreement that will allow the WCO to return to the stage and to its mission of community service. Your musicians’ positions are reasonable and industry standard, and offer the best hope for a strong future.

The WCO is a great jewel for the city of Madison, and business leaders and artists across America will be closely monitoring the situation.

Studies have shown that the economic impact of the arts industry in Wisconsin surpasses $418 million and provides over 15,000 jobs. Wisconsin’s Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton has been quoted as saying: “Across Wisconsin, the arts and culture industry does mean business. Investment in the arts is just that—an investment in organizations that generate revenue and employ thousands, and an investment in the vitality of a community. Investment in the arts is capital ventured to intensify an area’s magnetic pull for new economic opportunity.”

Along with my 4,000 colleagues in ICSOM orchestras, I ask you to invest in your community and the future of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra by positively addressing the concerns of the musicians. I urge you to agree to the terms requested by the musicians. By agreeing to the these reasonable requests, you can ensure the bright future for the WCO that the citizens of Madison desire and deserve.

Bruce Ridge
Chairman, International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM)


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