Orchestra season opens to deafening silence
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.