Saturday, April 05, 2008

Call 318-673-5108, Shreveport's Riverview Theater box office, to get last-minute tickets to the symphony, opera, ballet

When in doubt in Shreveport, I encourage you to simply go and attend the event in question. Rarely are venues like the Riverview Theater entirely sold out, in my lengthy experience.

Practicalities when you're going to the entertainment district:

1) Parking. If your intended spot is not available, whip up into the Eldorado Parking Garage. It's free and simple; you'll find it comfortable after you've used it a couple of times.

2) Call 318-673-5108 for the Riverview Theater Box Office. While I borrowed the plan above from, there is a similar guide in the big phone book.

3) You can google most phone numbers and hours for entertainment events. Another option is to use the search bar at the top of Shreveport Blog. In fact, you can entertain yourself by searching yourself and others in Shreveport Blog.


Anonymous said...

To be or not to be. That is the question. Next year, the Shreveport Symphony may have seats available on the stage.

Anonymous said...

As I sat listening and enjoying the Shreveport Symphony concert this evening, I could not help but to reflect on the Shakespearian theme. "To be or not to be. That is the question" is a line that is so often quoted. How appropriate and how unfortunate it is to have enjoyed the fusion of music and drama, only to be caught up in a tragic situation with our beloved Shreveport Symphony.

I have been a passionate supporter of the Shreveport Symphony for over forty years and yes, I have taken my turn as a member of the board. Think back with me, if you would, to about thirty years ago. The Shreveport Symphony was definitely not what it is today. I do remember concerts that more resembled a three-ring circus than a formal and enjoyable symphonic event. Bless those musicians, all per service, some still in high school and many were on a symphony scholarship to perform with the Shreveport Symphony while earning degrees from the Hurley School of Music at Centenary College. Have you forgotten the discussions and the decision to slowly work toward a solid base of full time, "core", musicians? We started the process with a string quartet and grew into the core positions we have today. It took a board with a vision to think ahead and plan for the future of our symphony.

It seems to me that our board has lost the vision. Do you even have a vision? From what I understand, the plan or vision of the current board is to go backwards (30 years backwards) and once again go to a "per service" orchestra and then pay a consultant to come and give you a vision!! Sure this consultant might have worked with the New Orleans and Baton Rouge symphonies but last time I checked, Shreveport was nothing like southern Louisiana. Why, we can't even get the southern part of this state to complete I-49. What makes you think that this consultant knows what we have been through to build the Shreveport Symphony to the current symphony that we can and are very proud of?

Our area NEEDS to keep the current high quality symphony and as we thought so very wisely many years ago, the key to the high quality of the symphony is the group of full time musicians that work together to give us the wonderful gift of music. It has been said many times that one of the attractions of the Shreveport-Bossier City area to hospitals, businesses, movie and film industry, and even the yet not confirmed Cyber Command Center, is the quality of the cultural arts and at the center of the arts is the Shreveport Symphony. This is not the "per service" part time symphony of yesteryears, it is the current symphony with the cohesiveness of the "core" full time musicians.

Okay, lets think back only a few years ago. We had a yearlong search for just the right conductor to come and work magic with the symphony. Do you remember how excited we were when Michael Butterman agreed to come? Do you remember the magic? Ticket sales are up, subscriptions are up, attendance is up. Maestro Butterman has been absolutely wonderful with our audiences, our community and our musicians. Do you really believe that Michael Butterman would have agreed to come to Shreveport if we had a piecemeal per service orchestra? I sincerely doubt that he would have given us a second glance. Now, don't we owe it to the Maestro to consistently give him the very best musicians that have been performing together, and not a hodgepodge of players that happen to be available? Can we even hope to keep Michael Butterman when his contract is up (the end of next year, if I remember correctly) if we have a per service orchestra? We certainly will not be able to attract quality players with the proposed yearly earnings.

Now, my friends, I can hear you saying that it is the only way to balance the budget. Well it seems from what I have been reading and hearing, we don't have much of a problem here, perhaps $200,000 or less. It was reported that we might not even have a deficit at this point. Most budgets can be trimmed without cutting out the heart of the organization. Why do you risk losing Mr. Butterman and a large number of musicians for what seems to be the current board's only solution? Have you totally lost the vision? The fact that you are planning to bring in an outsider to give the board a "vision" tells me that perhaps our current board members are not thinking about what is good for the area, but just how much easier it would be to "fire" the core players and see what happens. I can't believe the people I call my friends and the ones that have been working to get the symphony to this high level would risk going backwards thirty years, or worse, lose the symphony all together.

These are not kids that are just finishing high school or in college. These are professionals from the finest schools in the land, Boston Conservatory of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Peabody Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, and a host of fine state schools from across our country. They certainly deserve more than the mere $3,000 or so that the current proposal will pay.

This is the time, not to force a break between board and musicians. This is a time to come together, musicians, board, management, and community to keep this wonderful Shreveport Symphony going forward. I feel certain that if we all work together we can formulate a vision, a realistic course of action that will keep our wonderful symphony moving forward. We all have come too far to let the lack of vision of forward direction ruin what we have spent 60 years to achieve.

To be or not to be... What will it be?

trudeau said...

Anon 1: I don't think the continued existence of the SSO is in question. The pay of the core players is to be cut if no one steps up with an alternative plan. If those salaries are liquidated then the SSO would, I believe, move to reasonable financial footing.

Anon 2: Sounds like you and I have had a parallel life. I was first sold season tickets in the 70's by the perennially successful saleswoman Mrs. Dr. Sherman Gorton.

Raised my kids taking them to the SSO when few children were seen in the concert hall. Things have really changed re kids attending the symphony.

I joined the SSO Board under Dr. David Lillien after the financial crisis of '03. I continued - raising modest amounts - under Paula Leonard, who had a cool plan to emphasize the educational aspects of the core team and get lots of grant money for the work.

I don't know why the educational grant strategy hasn't been pursued.
I'm not sure that the SSO has ever enjoyed the services of a serious
grant writer.

I agree with your thoughts. The board and musicians should sit down and put a proposal in Shreveport's lap. Would you like to keep the SSO intact? Here's how much we think it would take.

A whole new tone for the SSO? Why not? The problem remains, Where and how do we find the new blood?

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be so sure. How much more can the musicians lose before they refuse to perform. Who else would play for so little money.

Anonymous said...

This is North Louisiana we are talking about; not Boston or New York where arts are valued not only for their educational value, but as a social icon that proves to the rest of the world that as a community they are well bred and cultured enough to recognize what's important. Money is not the way to tell the high class from the lower class; breeding, manners and not only an eye for quality, but an intolerance for substandard and cheap things; that is how you can tell.
People that breed horses know the difference between quality horse flesh and a cheaper horse. They also grasp WHY the differnce is so important; the end results.
I told a core musician several years ago, that he needed to understand, here in this part of the country, to the board, to the Shreveport "society," (be that as it may), the musicians are no more than "the help;" much the same as the maids that clean their homes or the man that mows their yard. Most people here, just can not see the difference; they simply lack the proper breeding, and you can not make a silk purse out of a sows ear.
He didn't believe me then; bet he knows where he's at now...

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to Susan Rogers the French Horn player?
she was a member of the Symphony for at least 20 years ,last time I was in Shreveport at an concert she was not in the Pit,Where did she go?

Anonymous said...

It seems that Susan Rogers has been yet another pawn in the board and or managements scheme to kill the orchestra. She was let go onder some questionable accuactions that are quite unfounded and probably made up bull **** from the management. I do believe the musicians and the union believe she is still "a member of the orchestra" but she has not been asked to play the last few concerts. This along with the current stuff that the board and management are pulling with seemingly only one proposal and refusing to compromise or even consider a different solution (other that getting rid of all of the full time players). I do believe the time is very near to either get board members that will work for the GOOD of the musicians and not just use those people as their chess game pawns or perhaps it is indeed time to "retire" the Shreveport Symphony and begin with a new organization. How very sad it is that the community leaders that long ago everyone looked up to are the very ones that folks are upset and fed up with. The board and management of the Shreveport Symphony need to WAKE UP and WISE UP and work FOR the entire Symphony organization and not just for their own wishes. Lets see them try to live on $3,000 a year. Why don' they cut Scott Green's salary by 75%. Even if they did he would still be making over $17,500 which is way above the $12,000 the core musicians are making. We need to stop this crap and work together if we are to keep the 60 year old symphony!!!