Letter from Tom Shaner


To:  DSO Board of Directors
Date: January 1, 2011
In completing my planner for 2011 I note that I’ll be missing another Detroit Symphony Orchestra Concert soon.  I am amazed that the contract with the Orchestral Musicians continues to not be resolved.  The DSO presents a most wonderful and rewarding musical experience every time that I am fortunate to hear it.  I was certain the Orchestra, Management and Board of Directors were thrilled with the superior performance level of the Symphony and that the Orchestra would be back performing early on in October.  It is now my impression that the musicians are willing to give up salary in order to resolve the issues, though it is hard to understand how anyone can adjust to such a great lose in income.  Considering their level of performance, requiring great talent and years of preparation, it would seem that salaries were in line with other fields requiring such intense preparation.
I do not understand the position of the DSO Management team.  It would seem that their resolve to continue the Orchestra as an outstanding musical organization would demand that they be in daily discussions with the musicians until a solution could be met.  It is my feeling that their goal is to “win”; musical standards have no role to play in their plan.  I find it much like watching a loved one with a terminal disease. You so very much want the outcome to be positive yet there is really nothing that you can do.  We were asked in a phone call from a fund raiser for the DSO to donate the money from our tickets in order to continue the fine educational program of the Symphony.  I felt that there was no concern expressed for the lack of a contract. If that is the position of the Management personnel, it would seem that it is past time finding personnel who have a quality Symphony Orchestra as their goal and resole.
I understand that as a Board you have the responsibility and opportunity to make a difference in these negotiations.  Please become actively involved.  I continue to have hope, even though the media and many others seem to have given up, that there is a force that will not permit the Detroit Symphony Orchestra that we know and love to be dissolved.
Best Wishes,
Tom Shaner
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