The agreement struck between Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians and management comes at a great time for patrons, players – and the volunteers hard at work to benefit the organization they treasure.
Both sides signed off on a new collective bargaining agreement Wednesday, barely missing affecting the fall season, not to mention a fundraiser coming up in a few weeks.
Bravo, the young professionals group within the Atlanta Symphony Associates, which raises money for the symphony, is organizing a Casino Night fundraiser on Oct. 19 at Mercedes Benz of Buckhead, 2799 Piedmont Rd. NE. Tickets start at $75 and are available here.
“It’s a good time, it’s fun,” said event co-chair Shannon Smith. “We’re able to be there and support what we love. We’re excited to be part of the symphony.”
Casino Night will feature food, an open bar and casino gaming. Smith said response has been robust as folks who share her affinity for the symphony seek a fun way to support it.
“We’ve had people reach out to us and say hey, when’s the event,” she said. “Every year we build a more diverse group.”
The dispute between the ASO’s players and administration meant a month-long lockout for orchestra members and it looked like the fall season might start late or possibly not at all. The deal will cost players $5.2 million in pay and will reduce their numbers. ASO President Stanley Romanstein and other top executives agreed to a 6 percent cut in their collective salaries.
Bravo chairman Daron Tarlton noted that symphonies in other cities have dealt with similar strife – and that Atlanta’s symphony has been here before.
“It’s not a new issue,” he said. “I remember in the 1990s I had the bumper sticker on my car that said ‘Save the Symphony.’ It’s not just the Atlanta Symphony that’s dealing with this.”
Indeed, the Chicago Symphony went on strike, days ahead of a planned gala and performances at Carnegie Hall, but like Atlanta, reached an agreement. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is rebuilding after a “disastrous six-month strike in 2010-11 that nearly destroyed it,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
For now, Atlanta symphony patrons and supporters can get back to the music, and Tarlton is looking forward to the Oct. 19 fundraiser. As a kid, he dreamed of playing for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He played the trumpet in the concert and symphonic bands at Wheeler High School in east Cobb, and was brass captain of the marching band. Although he became an accountant instead of a professional musician, his volunteer work on the symphony’s behalf honors his love of music.
“We’re on pace to have more turnout this year,” he said. “It’s exciting to see people get excited about the symphony.”