Henson Should Open His Meeting to the Media and Musicians

Update, 2/27/13 | We are disappointed that management has once again rejected an opportunity to be transparent with the board, donors and the public. The Musicians cannot play our part in the future of the organization if we are to be silenced in the board room as well as on stage.

The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra call on CEO Michael Henson, in the interest of the transparency he often cites, to open up his invite-only negotiation briefing this Thursday to the public, media and the musicians.

Mr. Henson states he is willing to answer questions about the current status of management’s lockout of musicians this Thursday morning from 10:30am to 11:45am at the Oracle Centre on the 4th Floor in Conference Room 3.

The invitation to “vital stakeholders” of the Orchestra says that the meeting is “important,” and he offers attendees the opportunity for “…a full briefing on the current situation and answers to questions…”

There are three key reasons Musicians and the Media should be permitted to attend the briefing:

· In a hearing two weeks ago, members of the House legacy committee raised significant questions about public tax dollars the Orchestra has received from the Legacy Commission as well as the over $14 million in public dollars to remodel the lobby at Orchestra Hall.

· After four months of delay in undertaking the Musicians’ proposal for a joint-independent financial analysis, Management finally agreed in January, yet promptly cancelled virtually the entire rest of the season. Management has still not provided the detailed financial information the Musicians have requested.

· The Musicians have requested three times to address the entire board, and have been denied on each occasion.

We have noted that Mr. Henson’s lack of transparency to all stakeholders is now a concern to the public officials and taxpayers. He has never allowed the Musicians an open forum to ask him or the Board questions about his plan for the future of the Orchestra. We believe the public would be well served by a truly transparent forum.

Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra Present Young People’s Concerts

MINNEAPOLIS– The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra will present two “Young People’s Concerts” this Wednesday at Forest Lake High School in Washington County, MN for students at Forest Lake High School.

“One of the most devastating things about this lockout is the impact it has had on our educational concerts. The musicians feel it is vital that we do whatever we can reach as many kids as possible while this lockout continues, and we’re happy to bring music to the entire state of Minnesota again.” Principal cellist Tony Ross said.

These concerts were originally scheduled to be a part of the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2012-13 season, but were canceled by the Minnesota Orchestral Association when its five-month-old lockout of the musicians was extended.

WHEN:           Wednesday, February 20, 2013
WHERE:        Forest Lake High School
WHO:             William Schrickel, conductor & the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 (8:00)
I. Allegro con brio

Symphony No. 41 in C major, Jupiter, K. 551 (16:00)
III. Menuetto: Allegretto IV. Molto allegro

Selections from Carmen, Suites No. 1 & 2 (18:00)
Les Toréadors (I/5) Prélude (I/1) Aragonaise (I/1a) Intermezzo (I/2)
Les dragons d’Alcala (I/4) Habañera (II/7) Danse Bohème (II/11)

Orchestra Management Rejects Musician’s Fourth Offer

The Management of the Minnesota Orchestra recently rejected an offer from the Musicians that simultaneously would have ended the lockout and started the joint-independent financial analysis first requested by Musicians last August. The proposal would have returned the Musicians to the stage, enabling the organization to maximize revenue for the remainder of the current season. Instead, Management chose to reject the proposal outright, violating the terms of the “fresh start” by publicizing their response in a press release, and canceling concerts through April 6th, essentially eliminating the entire season.

Before Mayor RT Rybak and Judy Dayton’s February 1st Grammy celebration concert, the Musicians proposed the following:

– Terms for the joint independant financial analysis

– A new joint fundraising campaign to fund any financial challenges of the Orchestra

– Donation of all proceeds from the Feb.1 concert to the endowment

– A return to the stage to maximize revenue to the Orchestra during the current season.

Instead of negotiating the terms of a return to the stage for the Musicians, Management rejected the offer, essentially turning the “fresh start” into a “false start.” Management chose not attend the Grammy Celebration concert with the Musicians and Osmo Vänskä at the invitation of Mayor RT Rybak and Judy Dayton.

The Musicians have previously made three offers to the Management, since last August. They have included:

– A joint independant financial analysis

– An offer to “Play and talk” while negotiating in good faith, thus continuing to generate revenue for the Orchestral Association and agreeing not to strike.

– Binding arbitration to determine a new contract

The Minnesota Legislature continues to examine the actions of the Minnesota Orchestra, including two hearings calling CEO Michael Henson to testify regarding the lockout and most recently the use of Legacy funds.

Henson Faces Tough Questions from Legislators

Members of the House Legacy Committee yesterday delivered hard-hitting questions of Minnesota Orchestra CEO Michael Henson about the finances of the Orchestra and use of state tax dollars for bonding and Legacy funds.

“This seems like a cold-description of a balance sheet. It haunts me,” said Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL). “It seems convenient that the lockout corresponds with the construction project.”

“This seems the opposite of preservation of the arts, it seems as if it is the destruction of the arts,” Hausman said.  Hausman is the chair of the Capital Investment Committee in charge of bonding projects.

“I see the Ohio orchestra is attracting record audiences,” said Rep. Joe McDonald (R). “So it seems as though other areas of the country are finding creative ways to make this work.”

Multiple times during his testimony, CEO Henson said he would like to “speedily” resolve the situation with the Musicians.

Henson’s testimony contradicts his actions since August.

–       The Musicians first proposed a “joint-independent financial analysis” in August. Management initially rejected the request and only agreed in principle in January to the analysis.

–       Management recently cited the time it would take for the joint independent study as the reason for cancelling concerts into April.

–       Management has rejected three requests by the Musicians to address the full board of directors since August.

–       Management rejected four proposals from the Musicians including binding arbitration.

“For the past four seasons a number of weeks have been left unscheduled. Musicians asked the management to schedule outreach and education concerts, offering specific ideas,” Orchestra violinist Catherine Schubilske testified.

“The answer was no. Essentially these were weeks where the musicians were paid to stay home and no concerts were produced. An estimated $2M was wasted on these unused services,” Schubilske said.

The Minnesota Legislature continues to examine the actions of the Minnesota Orchestra Management including two hearings calling CEO Henson to testify regarding the lockout, and most recently the use of Legacy funds.

Other legislative concerns include:

–         Henson misleading the Minnesota Legislature about the orchestra’s finances during his testimony in favor of the orchestra’s bonding request. LISTEN: http://bit.ly/UUu3W7

–       The revelations in the Star Tribune story of Monday, November 26th, 2012 which revealed that Henson’s strategy was to show “balanced” budgets when requesting state bonding funds, but show large “deficits” at the time of labor negotiations . STORY: http://bit.ly/Teh0MX MINUTES: http://bit.ly/QJqvse

House Legacy committee chair, Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL) said the that Legacy Committee would likely meet again to discuss other options related to funding of the Orchestra. Henson left the committee without answering further questions from legislators or the media.

The Musicians issued a unanimous, secret-ballot “no confidence” vote on Henson in December.

Statement of the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra

No Season?

MINNEAPOLIS – One week ago, the management illustrated that they have no interest in trying to overcome the crisis they have created.  They gave the cold shoulder to Mayor R.T. Rybak and the Orchestra’s greatest benefactor Judy Dayton when these leaders asked Musicians and Management to set aside their differences for the Grammy celebration concert.

While continuing to build the $52 million Orchestra Hall lobby, with $14 million coming from taxpayer dollars, this latest set of cancellations through April 7, includes 10 Young People’s Concerts, as well as a week-long residency serving the community of Bemidji.  Through these cancellations, Management has taken another step toward throwing away the entire Orchestra season, leading us to ask, “Was this the plan all along?”

Management has lobbied for and received nearly $1 million in state support for music education and outreach, and this latest round of cancellations brings the total number of lost Education concerts to 18.  If Orchestra Management fails to keep its commitment to the community by continuing to cancel education and outreach concerts, we ask “Will taxpayers demand a refund?”

By cancelling these concerts, Orchestra Management has further eroded the public trust, already shaken by the legislative investigation into the misleading statements of Michael Henson when he requested state bonding money to help fund the lobby renovation.

We again call for Management to fulfill its commitment to the community and the taxpayers, by ending the 5 month lockout and reinstating these concerts.

ACME Benefit for El Sistema Minneapolis

Please join us for this very special concert with the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, Instrument Ceremony, and Silent Auction to benefit ACME.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
El Nuevo Rodeo, 2nd Floor
2709 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406

On Wednesday, February 13th, Advocates for Community through Musical Excellence (ACME) will hold its first Annual Instrument Ceremony and Concert at El Nuevo Rodeo to benefit the children of the music-education program,
El Sistema Minneapolis.

Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra will perform a private performance of Vivaldi and Piazzolla Seasons, featuring Concertmaster Erin Keefe and Violinists Pamela Arnstein and Michael Sutton.

El Sistema Minneapolis is a program whose purpose is to help high-risk youth through community development and to inspire social change through classical music. ACME will celebrate its first class of students from Nellie Stone Johnson Community School and BEACONs of North Minneapolis with a performance on their hand-made cardboard instruments.  Following will be a ceremony where students are presented their hard-earned, real instruments. The event will include dinner by El Nuevo Rodeo and a silent auction.

Tickets are $35.00. To order,
please visit 
http://acme.uticketit.com/ or call 952-465-4756.

Guests are encouraged to bring canned food items which will be contributed to the families of the El Sistema children. 

Silent auction prizes include an autographed home-made recipe from Amy Klobuchar and a private in-home dinner and performance from Ken Freed and a quartet of musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra.

To learn more about El Sistema Minneapolis,
please visit 
http://www.acme-music.com or
like on http://www.facebook.com/acmemn

And the winner is……

entered by Nikki Bodurtha from Minneapolis.

The beer will make it’s debut on Friday, February 1, 10:30 p.m. at
831 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Come celebrate with Boom Island Brewers and LoMoMO!

The Musicians say a hearty thank you to all who entered for your creativity and support! There were hundreds of great names to choose from!
Our runners-up were;
Sipbelius – Robert Fitzpatrick, from Paris, France
Solidarity – Phil Passen
Verbruggen’s Brew – Tom Foley

LoMoMOpalooza is a new Belgian-style beer created by Kevin & Quixia Welch of Boom Island Brewery, who will generously donate $1 per bottle from the sale of this specially-created brew to the Musicians. Details of the special brew:
Color: Very Light Copper
Flavor: Moderate to Assertive Hop Bitterness with slight clove-like esters
Mouthfeel: Light and Crisp with a dry finish
Approx 6% ABV

Please check back for a listing of fine local establishments that
will carry LoMoMOpalooza on tap and for sale in bottles.

Brewmaster Kevin says, “Let’s raise a glass and get the Minnesota
Orchestra Musicians back on the concert stage! Cheers!”