The lockout has been an emotional and tumultuous journey. Despite the struggle and difficulty of this process, it is remarkable just how often the overwhelming emotion for us has been gratitude. We would like to try to thank the people who have helped to get us to where we are today, though it would be impossible to mention every individual who has contributed to this moment, nor could we fully express how much their efforts have meant to us.
First of all, we thank our families. They endured the uncertainty and hardship with us, often separated from each other for weeks or even months at a time.
We thank our colleagues in other orchestras throughout the world. They hired us and welcomed us into their orchestras as honored guests, time and time again. Their financial generosity was stunning – from the beginning to the end of these 16 months, they never stopped sending us substantial donations. What’s more, the American Federation of Musicians and the International Conference of Symphony Orchestra Musicians (ICSOM) provided a seemingly inexhaustible supply of emphatic advocacy and assistance. We owe particular gratitude to our own Local 30-73 in the Twin Cities for their incredible efforts.
We thank everyone who made our self-produced concerts possible, especially the phenomenal conductors and soloists who shared their musicality and passion so that the voice of this orchestra was never silent and never alone. We are deeply grateful to Osmo Vänskä for a farewell concert in October of 2013 that none of us will ever forget.
We thank our tireless volunteers. So many were eager to help any way they could, whether that meant writing letters, selling those green mugs at intermission, or offering their homes for concerts and fundraisers. There was a daunting amount of work to be done, but there was never a shortage of hands to willingly share the load.
We thank the organizations that formed in response to this situation. Orchestrate Excellence continues to offer thoughtful insight into what the orchestra is and how it can be more. Save Our Symphony Minnesota lit a fire under thousands of supporters looking for a way to make their voices heard and advocate for the Minnesota Orchestra. The Young Musicians of Minnesota hearten and inspire us as no one else can.
We thank those who kept the orchestra present in the media, especially the writers at MinnPost who dug deeply into the many issues at hand. We are so grateful for the bloggers, who exhaustively researched and dissected this process. Their insight and writing is invaluable.
We thank our civic leaders and legislators who used their influence to help bring about a solution. They recognize that the Minnesota Orchestra is important, not only as a treasured element of our cultural identity, but because an orchestra with an international presence serves as Minnesota’s cultural ambassador to the world. Special thanks to Mayor Betsy Hodges for speaking out on many occasions and in many forums.
We thank the board of the orchestra. For months now, we have all been hearing that this was a dispute that might never be resolved, that might actually end the Minnesota Orchestra. Both musician and board member negotiating teams continued talking and looking for creative ways to move forward and compromise. Despite our differences, both sides ultimately collaborated on an agreement that would allow us to move forward. Now we are at the beginning of a new era, and we look forward to continuing our work together with the board that supported us as we reached the height of our achievements in 2012.
Finally and most importantly, we thank you, our audience and our community. Without you, we simply would not be here today. Your generous donations, your kind and encouraging emails, and your love of this orchestra – these are the things that got us through the last 488 days. You were tireless and persistent, and you’ve made it clear to everyone that great orchestral music is valued and cherished in Minnesota. Each concert that we performed during the lockout began the same way: we entered the stage together and our audience responded with a thunderous and sustained standing ovation. You will never know just how much that meant to every single one of us, every single time, and the strength that you gave us through that generous gesture.
You have shared our vision of a world-class orchestra for our community, and we are ready for the hard work of rebuilding trust based on that common vision. As the path of the lockout comes to an end, we embark with hope on a new path of creativity, growth, and collaboration. We couldn’t be in better company than yours as we begin this journey.