Frequently Asked Questions
What can I (as a community member) do?
We are asking the community to support us in urging the Colorado Springs Philharmonic leadership to honor the agreed-upon contract we worked so hard to achieve. Specifically we are asking musicians and community members alike to write letters to the board addressing how a service guarantee has helped make this ensemble the one it is and how the community has noticed and benefited from the growth of the orchestra over the years. For more details on how you can help the musicians, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at our Facebook page, Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.
Why was the contract canceled?
We knew that changes would have to be made to how we do things in order for the organization to get through the pandemic, so the musicians were very willing to work with Philharmonic leadership (CEO and Board) to find reasonable short-term modifications to our contract. Unfortunately, leadership was seeking to make lasting changes to our contract that went beyond the scope of the pandemic, changes that would dramatically alter the ability of this orchestra to maintain its high professional standards.
What is a service guarantee and why does it matter?
A service guarantee is a promise that a minimum number of rehearsals and/or concerts will be held over the course of each season. The Colorado Springs Philharmonic has always worked under contracts that provided a “minimum service guarantee.” Having a service guarantee means that musicians can expect a certain amount of work (and income from that work) to be available to them. The guarantee allows us to prioritize the Colorado Springs Philharmonic above other work that most of us are offered with other orchestras. The guarantee allows us to plan, both logistically and financially.
The guarantee has been critical in attracting top-level talent to Colorado Springs to audition for open positions in our orchestra. Much of the improvement of the level of this orchestra in recent years can be directly attributed to how our service guarantee provides a small but stable foundation for musicians to build a life here.
Why hasn’t the orchestra accepted the work offered to them after the contract was canceled? Don’t you think management is trying REALLY HARD to hold concerts?
First and foremost, we can’t accept work under conditions that haven’t been properly negotiated (it’s illegal). Second, their initial offers of work were entirely haphazard: no health/safety guidelines, vague details regarding time/location of rehearsals, etc. Third, without proper advance notice, many of our schedules prevented us from being available for the work that was offered. Many of us have other jobs and obligations, and respectful offers of work typically are given with several weeks’ notice to allow us to adjust our schedules.
The shutdowns due to COVID began in March, and the vote to cancel our contract was in September. At no point during those six months did management make a serious attempt at planning smaller concerts or recordings that could have been viable alternatives to live, full-orchestral performances.
Are the musicians being unreasonable?
NO. We acknowledge the realities of the pandemic, and we have demonstrated that we’re more than willing to share the responsibility of making adjustments that will help the organization to survive. That’s why we proposed and continue to propose several low-cost solutions to the Philharmonic leadership, including large cuts to our pay.
At the same time, we don’t think it’s appropriate or necessary to allow the progress that we have made as an orchestra to be reversed or dramatically altered beyond the scope of the pandemic. Life will return to normal at some point, and we want to ensure we will still be the professional quality orchestra this community deserves.