Todd Jelen on WORT Radio

March 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Posted in Informational | Leave a comment

todd_jelenTodd Jelen, the Negotiating Committee Chair, appeared this morning on ‘The 8 O’clock Buzz’ program on WORT 89.9 fm. The interview starts about 12:45 into the program and covers a gambit of topics including the history of our negotiations, the current situtation, and future ramafications of the WCO Boards current course of action.

The program can be streamed or downloaded from the archive page of WORT: (MP3 direct download)


The Truth About Our Negotiations

October 21, 2008 at 9:15 am | Posted in Informational | 1 Comment

The musicians of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra remain on strike! Our work stoppage began October 1; since then, management has issued two press releases and two letters to the musicians. In them, management claimed to have been cooperative in negotiations (saying they have moved on many items) and surprised and disappointed by the move of the musicians. We find the distortions and inaccuracies in these documents to be entirely unacceptable. It is time to tell our side of the story. Continue Reading The Truth About Our Negotiations…

See articles about the Musicians’ fight for a fair contract:

September 29, 2008 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Informational, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Please visit the following links!

77 Square:
WCO contract negotiations stall; strike possible

Wisconsin State Journal:
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in contract wrangle

Summer 2008 Informational Pamphlet

June 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm | Posted in Informational | Leave a comment
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Welcome to Our 2008 Summer Season of Concerts on Madison’s Capitol Square!

The musicians of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra would like to take this opportunity to express our sincerest gratitude to you, our concert-going public. Your attendance of our performances and support of our orchestra provide a lasting source of inspiration to us as musicians. We are honored to play a role in the cultural life of Madison; we hope to continue with our performances, indoor and outdoor alike, for many years to come!

Did You Know?
The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra is a professional musical organization made up of professional musicians from 6 states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Most of our musicians hold advanced degrees from many of the top conservatories and music schools in the country, and the instruments that you see on stage are valued in total at over a million dollars!

WCO musicians are in demand as substitute performers with The Milwaukee Symphony, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Lyric Opera, The Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Utah Symphony, The Ravinia Festival Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and The Bergen Philharmonic in Norway – just to name a few!

Artists & Neighbors:
Members of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra can be found teaching young music students in their homes, as well as in many public and private schools throughout the Madison area and the Midwest. WCO musicians also hold faculty positions at UW-Madison, UW-Whitewater, Notre Dame University, and De Paul University.

Here in Madison, you will see WCO musicians on stage with: The Madison Symphony Orchestra, Pro Arte Quartet, Wingra Woodwind Quintet, The Oakwood Chamber Players, Whitewater Brass Quintet, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Pale Young Gentlemen, The Ancora String Quartet, as well as numerous other performances featured at Overture Center, such as touring acts and Broadway productions such as The Lion King and SPAMALOT. With this unique combination of backgrounds and experience, we unite in Madison as the WCO.

Supporting the Arts Means
Supporting the Artists!

The musicians of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra are currently negotiating for a new contract. Our current contract expires on August 31, 2008. A good number of musicians that are onstage during the Summer concerts on the Capitol steps are not covered under our current contract. They have no job security and are paid as little as half of the amount that contracted members are paid! Some of these musicians have been featured as soloists with The WCO and have been used in advertisements and commercials promoting the group. Many of these extra musicians have been playing with the WCO for years, including three musicians that have been with us for more than 20 years. We believe that, in order to maintain the highest standards of artistry, every musician performing with the WCO should be guaranteed a fair wage and be recognized for their contribution to the ensemble.

Performing with The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra is a part time job, and it does not provide a singular source of income. We play for six concerts at the Capitol every Summer and we perform about 10 concert programs during the rest of the year. Therefore, all of our musicians must work somewhere in addition to the WCO to earn a living wage. Often, our other obligations conflict with the WCO schedule and the attendance policy that management has proposed would make it difficult, if not impossible, to balance these commitments.

Musicians who travel more than 35 miles each way to Madison are paid a small contribution to help cover transportation costs. Currently, a third of WCO musicians commute to Madison from distances greater than 100 miles in each direction, and are compensated at less than 25 percent of the IRS rate. Some musicians are compensated as little as 2-3 cents per mile! With the cost of gasoline at record highs, this becomes very detrimental to our ability to earn a living with the WCO.

Thank You For Your Support of the
WCO Musicians!

To learn more about the musicians of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, you may reach our media contact, Todd Jelen by email at

Please also consider a tax-deductible donation to the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. When you contribute, please encourage the Chamber Orchestra to support the musicians in one or more of the aforementioned working conditions.

To contact the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, visit or call 608-257-0638.
Please cc any email correspondence to Todd Jelen at

This pamphlet has been funded, produced, and distributed by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Players’ Association.

Welcome to our Blog!

June 25, 2008 at 8:05 pm | Posted in Informational | Leave a comment

We’d like to welcome you to our official blog. Please check back from time to time for more information about us!

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