Thomas F. Lee: WCO’s musicians deserve your support

February 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Posted in Support | Leave a comment

courtesy of the Capital Times, 2/15/09:

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the tens of thousands of American Federation of Musicians members across North America, I am writing to express support for the dedicated musicians of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

Unfortunately, the orchestra’s management is embarking on an approach that hurts the orchestra, the musicians and the greater Madison community by canceling the Feb. 27 concert and insisting on the reopening of talks on issues that have already been agreed to by both sides of the negotiating table. Musicians and their negotiating committee have spent countless hours and significant resources in order to come to an agreement with management on many of the issues.

The musicians care deeply about the orchestra and the arts community in Madison. Performing in the orchestra is more than just a job — it’s a passion and an honor as a service to the people of Wisconsin. Orchestras generate income for cities, help to attract new businesses, create more vibrant and attractive communities, and help to inspire future generations to explore classical music.

By seeking to undo all the work accomplished so far in the negotiations and to cancel the next concert, management is taking a giant step backward.

I encourage everyone to support the orchestra’s musicians and help to keep the orchestra strong as a staple of Madison life. The musicians are a terrific group of exceptional artists and deserve the support of all in the community.

Thomas F. Lee, president

American Federation of Musicians

New York, N.Y.

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