Thursday, December 29, 2016


A new series, of which I am very excited, is coming to these pages soon. I intend to offer the first installment of WOW immediately after recovery from the New Year's Eve festivities. That could easily be early on the morning of 1/1; I'm a pretty boring partier, unless I travel to Prairie du Chien, WI for the annual "Dropping of the Carp" (no, I'm not kidding).

What exactly is WOW? Stay tuned.

By the way, it has NOTHING to do with "World of Warcraft".

Thursday, December 8, 2016

"The strike is o'er, the battle won" (sort of)

After three long months, the Fort Worth Symphony strike has ended. While a protracted "negotiation" resulted in nothing, as one party refused to meet (wonder who that was?), federal mediators managed to accomplish the impossible in two days. It didn't hurt that an anonymous donor came forward with $700,000 to help balance the books.

One has to wonder: where was this person hiding all this time? Why didn't orchestra development personnel identify him/her well in advance of this mess? Oh wait, for all intents and purposes the FWSO development office is non-existent--or at least headless, as there have been five (or is it six?) VPs of Development over the past five years.

From what has been released, here's what we know of the four-year contract:
  • A wage freeze in years 1 and 2.
  • 2% increase in year 3.
  • 2-1/2% increase in year 4.
  • Eliminate 7 vacation days.
Bass Hall, Fort Worth: $4100 per rehearsal/performance in rent.
The next performance of the FWSO will be on New Year's Eve and the remainder of the season will go forth as originally scheduled.

So, it's over but can it be called a victory for the players? Not really although this is a far cry from Amy Adkins's "last, best, and final offer" presented before the strike began. Still, the organization can take much from this mess:
  • The statement announcing the end of the labor dispute, released last night, stated, This agreement was reached after two days of federal mediation and more than a year of good faith bargaining. Focus on the last three words. There was no good faith bargaining because management--time and time again--refused to meet.
  • The FWSO pays something to the tune of $4100 in rent every time they open the doors of Bass Hall, whether for concerts or rehearsals. In Dallas? Meyerson Hall is had for $1 per year! Of course, the DSO helped to raise money to build the place while in Fort Worth, the bulk of the money came from the family of  the current Chair of the FWSO Board. Oh.....wait......
Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas (damn gorgeous!)
$1 rent for the whole year!
  • As earlier stated, the Development Office is in a shambles. Right now, that is the most important task of the Board, CEO Adkins, and all of the stakeholders of the organization. The economy long ago recovered in Fort Worth. Any statements that "the money isn't there" are patently false. This needs to be fixed or heads need to roll.
And the silent Music Director has finally offered very non-committal platitudes:

"I’m thrilled the strike is resolved,” said FWSO Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya. “I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate the New Year than with the return of the Orchestra and its wonderful musicians. I will be proud to conduct its return concert on New Year’s Eve. I would like to take this opportunity to say to our community: This orchestra belongs to all of us; it raises our quality of life, it impacts our economy directly and indirectly. I’d like to ask the people of Fort Worth to help the orchestra come back not only strong but stronger than ever."

May it be so, at lease until the next "negotiation".