What Really Matters, Re: Indianapolis Symphony, Part 2

This is a continuation of my blog post from yesterday, What Really Matters, Re: Indianapolis Symphony, Part 1.

After writing and reading yesterdays post, I still felt like more needs to be said, and questions need to be asked!

How did the ISO get to this point?
How many people will this lockout really effect?
Where is the city in all of this?

How did the ISO get to this point?
This question needs to be answered. Clearly, as a lowly freelance trombonist, I have zero (ZE-RO) access to insider information. But, as an outsider and frequent ISO audience member, I can tell you this: Musically and artistically, the ISO has been getting better, stronger, tighter, and climbing to musical levels that are breathtaking, tear-jerkingly beautiful and intense! Despite their musical and artistic success, each year, through each contract negotiation, the musicians of the ISO have given concessions, taken pay cuts, and have been on a hiring freeze due to financial concerns. I know that ticket sales should only be 10-15% of the overall budget and that corporate/individual donations need to be much, much more. I have not seen any evidence that the management has done much of anything other than, ‘Well, this is how it has been done in the past‘ type of management. Where is the innovation? Where is the excitement coming from the board/management? The excitement should be there to equal the incredible artistic quality the musicians provide each and every week, yet, I don’t see it.

How many people will this lockout really effect?
As hornist, Mr. Montgomery, pointed out on the local ABC affiliate on yesterdays news, this lockout effects more than just the ISO musicians. Take a look at all the surrounding businesses that will take a hit each and every week. From bars to parking garages, and restaurants to coffee shops, downtown Indy will not be the same without the ISO performing each and every week! But let’s a step back and look at the larger music scene. There are freelance musicians on every instrument in this town. Now, thanks to the lockout, there are 87 more people thrown into the fray who will all now be competing for the same freelance jobs. Trick-down works people, it’s just that crap trickles down much quicker. The ISO musician lockout will have a dramatic effect on all the musicians in Indianapolis.

Where is the city in all of this?
Yes, where is the City of Indianapolis in all of this? If memory serves, I seem to remember a certain basketball team asking for and receiving a SHIT-TON of money from the City of Indianapolis…$30 million I believe. The deal was struck with the CIB (Capital Improvement Board) in 2010 that stated the Pacers would receive $30 million in 3 installments of $10 million. I believe the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is running a budget deficit of $10 million…hmmmm. Has the ISO management approached the City? Don’t you think the ISO is just as important, or even more important, than a sports team? And didn’t we spend another LARGE-BAG of money for a Super Bowl? How did that work out? Super Bowl hands Indy a $1.3 million loss.

Questions to be asked and discussed next blog:
Why are similar situations happening to other American orchestras?
Are there any success stories for American Orchestras?
What can be done?

Please feel free to share and comment on this blog! I’d love to hear what YOU are thinking about all this!

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