Save Our SPCO Announces Exploratory Committee to Examine Forming New Chamber Orchestra Society
Frustration with Lockout and Lack of Progress in SPCO-Musician Negotiations Leads Concertgoers to Explore New Organization to Host World-Class Chamber Orchestra
Mariellen Jacobson, Chair of Save Our SPCO, stated, “Our members are very frustrated by the length of the lockout and the lack of progress at the negotiation table. This has led us to kick off an exploration of a potential breakthrough alternative: formation of an entirely new organization to host a chamber orchestra in St. Paul.”
The initial members of the Exploratory Committee are:
* Representative Phyllis Kahn: Representative Kahn has served in the Minnesota House of Representatives since 1972 and is now in her 21st term in office. Among other responsibilities, Ms. Kahn is Chair of the Legacy Committee, which provides Constitutionally-mandated funding to the Minnesota Arts Board and the Perpich Center for the Arts as well as to the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
* Representative Joe Atkins: Representative Atkins was first elected to the Minnesota legislature in 2002, and is now serving in his sixth term in the House. Representative Atkins is an attorney who also served as Mayor of Inver Grove Heights for 10 years.
* Layton (“Skip”) James: Mr. James served as Principal Keyboardist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for 41 years, retiring in 2011. He has also performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and with a number of orchestras and ensembles throughout the world. He has also been a frequent conductor, director, composer and recording artist.
* Peter Howard: Mr. Howard was the Principal Cellist for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for 29 years, retiring in 2004. He has performed as a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra and a number of other orchestras in the United States and Europe.
* Donald Kahn: Mr. Kahn is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota. He is an amateur cello musician who enjoys performing with chamber ensembles and listening to both classical music and jazz.
* James Hainlen: Mr. Hainlen, a violinist, is conductor and artistic director of the Roseville String Ensemble. A respected conductor and music educator, Hainlen taught orchestra in the Stillwater Area Schools for 28 years. He has also conducted for the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies and Wisconsin Youth Symphonies in Madison, Wis., and guest-conducted community orchestras around the Midwest.
Additional individuals will be added to the Committee representing the Arts, Philanthropy, Education, Business, and Political sectors.
The Exploratory Committee will examine a wide variety of issues relating to the potential formation of a new organization including the willingness of highly-talented musicians to join a new organization, potential sources of startup funding, the staffing and infrastructure that may be necessary, and so forth. The Exploratory Committee will be supported by Save Our SPCO volunteers who have backgrounds in music, business, finance, communications, law, project management and other areas.
Rep. Atkins commented on the announcement, stating "I support the Exploratory Committee's efforts to seek creative solutions to the SPCO lockout. The SPCO lockout has gone on far too long. It is time to seek other solutions, and I support the Exploratory Committee's efforts to do that."
Layton James stated, "I support the establishment of an Exploratory Committee to examine the feasibility of an alternative organizational structure because I believe that the present Board has forgotten that its purpose is to be a support group for the SPCO, and not to be the orchestra itself. We need a management and Board that wants to keep a world class chamber orchestra in St. Paul. I hope that my participation in the Exploratory Committee will help make that happen."
James Hainlen commented, “The SPCO has a solid reputation as a world-class chamber orchestra. I am very troubled that as the lockout has dragged on, the orchestra is losing its talented musicians and may fall apart completely if something isn’t done soon. My feeling is that if SPCO cannot resolve the lockout, we must begin exploring another solution, and that may require a whole new organization.”
For additional information about Save Our SPCO’s mission and members, or to get involved, please visit our website sospco.org, like our Facebook page at facebook.com/SaveOurSPCO or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/sospco.
For further information contact:
Mariellen Jacobson: 612-839-5338
Jon Eisenberg: 612-801-5659
Rebecca Osborn: 612-695-4264
Save Our SPCO
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