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Community awareness has become the silver lining in this toxic cloud. Patron groups have decried the breakdown, and while most have sided with the musicians, they contend they just want the music back.
“There is a great deal of interest,” said Henson. “People are debating, how do we make classical music the great art form it is?”
Donations to the orchestra are about 82 percent of last year, said Nancy Lindahl, who chairs the Guaranty Fund. Musicians contend that donors are withholding money to pressure the board. The board says donors are waiting to see if a sustainable deal is reached.
Paula DeCosse, co-chair of Orchestrate Excellence and a major donor, announced last fall that she and her husband, Cy, were withdrawing a $500,000 bequest to the orchestra. She said they would reinstate the bequest if the dispute is settled and both sides work toward a “positive future.”
“My views have evolved quite a bit,” said Paula DeCosse in an interview. “I can see the problem that the board has had. They’ve tried hard to raise more money and it’s quite difficult. Yet, I think the musicians have attained such a high musical level and music lovers want that maintained.”
Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299