Monday, January 28, 2008
Shreveport Symphony Orchestra players speak out via new website: shreveportmusicians.org
Those words greet the visitor to the latest arts website in the region, the
Orchestra Players United of Shreveport-Bossier (OPUS).
The symphony musicians web site brings facts and figures to the public that may be difficult to get otherwise. For instance, and pertinently: "Full-time musicians have taken a total 27% in pay cuts since 2001. The per-service rate has been cut 7% and the number of services (rehearsals or concerts) the Symphony has used has been reduced."
These cuts have remained despite the numerous house-filling concerts which have marked the advent of music director Michael Butterman.
The erosion of the core players' pay in recent years has been saddening. One example of life in the core is that of violinist Gary Bruns, a stalwart of the SSO's string section. Once he made a living playing for the SSO and regional orchestras as well as by giving private instruction. Today, he has become a certified financial planner. As a musician, he has long had to be an astute manager of money. Now he's transitioning away from the SSO because of the unremitting cuts in his principal paycheck.
The OPUS web site offers an overwhelmingly positive take on the life of professional orchestra musicians. You will see the role played by these musicians in education. There are a world of relevant community links on the site.
The OPUS site is not complete. But the material entered thus far is important to those who care about music and one of the most important institutions of the region, the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra.