Orches­tra sea­son opens to deaf­en­ing si­lence

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SOCIETY - Story and pho­tos by Joan Bang For Main Line Me­dia News

The ru­mors of a sus­pected strike, by mem­bers of the Philadel­phia Orches­tra, be­gan be­ing whis­pered about at the pre-con­cert cock­tail re­cep­tion held on open­ing night, Sept. 30. By the time the chimes rang for guests to head to their seats in Ver­i­zon Hall of The Kim­mel Cen­ter, the con­fir­ma­tion of this news was spread­ing. What hap­pened next was a shock for many, par­tic­u­larly those 400 chil­dren, par­ents and grand­par­ents who’d braved the rainy el­e­ments to in­tro­duce their off­spring to clas­si­cal mu­sic in the es­teemed con­cert venue.

Where the nor­mally for­mally dressed up women and tuxe­doed males that com­prise the Orches­tra should have been sit­ting there was naught but empty chairs on stage. There were also no sounds of in­stru­ments be­ing finely tuned, nor sight of Con­cert Master David Kim mak­ing sure his mu­sic sheets were firmly in place on their stand and that his mu­si­cal charges were ready for the ba­ton to be raised by Mu­sic Direc­tor Yan­nick Nézet-Séguin.

In­stead what en­sued was a lengthy pause in the ac­tion be­fore the Orches­tra’s pres­i­dent and CEO, Al­li­son Vul­g­amore, hus­tled to the stage’s mi­cro­phone to de­liver the dis­turb­ing news that there would be no mu­si­cal dis­play on tap for that evening as a strike by mu­si­cians was al­ready un­der­way. They’d be­gun show­ing their dis­fa­vor for the de­ci­sion’s be­ing put forth from the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s board of di­rec­tors. This brought on the de­ci­sion to halt salary ne­go­ti­a­tions and in­stead be­gin pick­et­ing and play­ing in­stru­ments right out­side the ac­claimed venue as pa­trons ig­nored the protest by parad­ing right on into the fundrais­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion party.

Sur­pris­ingly this an­nounce­ment by Vul­g­amore, while highly con­cern­ing, didn’t ap­pear to flap as many feath­ers, nor cause as much con­ster­na­tion as one might have ex­pected. In­stead at­ten­dees made their way to three lev­els of the Kim­mel Cen­ter to wine, dine and con­tinue the evening’s en­joy­ment re­gard­less of the mu­si­cians stand-off.

As the evening wound down, along with the steady rain, those still protest­ing be­gan to put away their plac­ards and pack up pre­cious in­stru­ments be­fore head­ing home while won­der­ing just how long the strike could last. Bene­fac­tors on the other side of this equa­tion spent the rest of the night query­ing each other as well as ne­go­tia­tors as to just what it would take to seal a deal that wouldn’t break banks, nor cause ill will among all par­ties con­cerned.

Though it took an­other few days to strike all the cor­rect ‘chords’ of con­ces­sion, along with “over­tures” to all con­cerned in the en­deavor, it ap­pears the start of the 2016-2017 Orches­tra sea­son has in­deed be­gun.

For up­com­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to be in the au­di­ence when the Philadel­phia Orches­tra takes cen­ter stage visit the web­site at www. philorch.org.

Me­dia en­tre­pre­neur Milt Rock holds court with wife Con­nie and the Sylks of Me­rion, Lenny and Bar­bara.

Dan Jan­netta of Haver­ford and John Gal­loway of Vil­lanova es­cort Elia Buck, Sally Jan­netta and Nancy Gal­loway, a vice pres­i­dent of the Women’s Board, to the din­ner.

Al­ways out and about power cou­ple, Sharon Pinken­son and Joe Weiss, are greeted by event co-chair­woman Dianne Rotwitt of Wayne and Vol­un­teer Com­mit­tees pres­i­dent Lisa We­ber Yakulis of Rad­nor.

When the mu­sic mak­ers refuse to ap­pear, Mann Cen­ter pres­i­dent and CEO Cathy Cahill com­mis­er­ates with Anne Ew­ers who holds the same po­si­tion at the Kim­mel Cen­ter.

Caro­line Kim­mel of­fers her sup­port for the cen­ter bear­ing her spouse’s name to its pres­i­dent and CEO Al­li­son Vul­g­amore.

Jim Kroll of Rad­nor and wife Betsy ar­rive at the re­cep­tion.

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