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After months of contract battles, Colorado Springs Philharmonic will return to stage

Amanda Hancock

Accessed Oct 11, 2021

The Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s management and musicians have reached a new agreement after months of back and forth.

Following 18 months of tense back and forth that threatened the future of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, its musicians and management reached an agreement that puts the orchestra on stage again.

The new three-year deal comes after Philharmonic management and the Pikes Peak Musicians Association both “made concessions to preserve the future of the organization during this unprecedented time,” according to a news release announcing the agreement on Friday.

It’s cause for celebration amid compromise, as groups involved have long worked toward a solution that resumes Philharmonic concerts after a hiatus started by the pandemic and strung out by contract negotiations.

The problems go back to April 2020, when musicians were promised a nearly 30 percent pay raise under a new five-year agreement. As the pandemic ravaged the Philharmonic’s revenue and canceled performances, discussions about a new deal went south.

That contract was canceled in September 2020, leaving musicians without pay or certainty about whether concerts would return or when.

More than a year later, Philharmonic president and CEO Nathan Newbrough says this agreement is “good news for our patrons.”

“We have a deal and that’s the important thing. That gives us a healing moment after so many months of discord,” he said. “I’m only sorry it took awhile to get here. That’s water under the bridge now.”

Returning to the stage won’t come without some lingering bitterness for members of the orchestra, who see the new agreement as a step backward compared to expected pay increases detailed in the April 2020 contract.

Jeremy Van Hoy, a Philharmonic bass trombonist and chair of the Orchestra Players Committee said musicians are “coming back with concessions that are a little bit hard to swallow.”

He said they're making sacrifices to "help the organization get back on its feet."

“We musicians care so deeply about the future of our orchestra that we accepted salary reductions to get us back to work,” said Sarah Wilson, a cellist and president of the local American Federation of Musicians union, in the press release.

Musicians could see about a 40 percent pay cut during the 2021-2022 season, which Newbrough says is “simply because we’re coming out the pandemic.”

Musicians will start out earning between $118 and $147 per “services,” which can include rehearsals or concerts, depending on their position. In a typical year, that equals a minimum salary between $11,800 and $14,700.

Because this will be a shorter season, musicians will make thousands of dollars less than usual.

“That’s why this thing (the agreement) almost didn't go through,” Van Hoy said. “A number of musicians said, ‘We want to get back to work and we can work under these conditions.’ Others said, ‘No, do better.’”

The new agreement also states that the service rate will increase by 4 percent each year, meaning by the fall of 2023, musicians should earn between $126 and $160 per rehearsal or performance and will be guaranteed at least 100 services per season. The agreement includes health and safety protections and increased scheduling flexibility.

Ultimately, they came to a resolution hinged on “true compromise,” said Newbrough.

“We’re ready to focus on the future of what we can do together,” he added.

While Van Hoy said he looks forward to more negotiations, he’s also looking forward to playing for audiences again.

“There’s a degree of relief,” Van Hoy said. “I’m relieved that it’s over and we can go back to being musicians and stop being negotiators. That’s not what I went to music school for.”

He went to school to play in an orchestra like this one, which he joined in 1994 right out of college.

He's since enjoyed playing music that people love, as will be the case when the Philharmonic returns with performances of “The Nutcracker” featuring the Oklahoma City Ballet during the last weekend in November.

More details for upcoming concerts will be announced later this month.

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Colorado Springs, CO – Oct. 8, 2021**

Colorado Springs Philharmonic to Return to the Stage

Musicians Reach Agreement


The Colorado Springs Philharmonic and the Pikes Peak Musicians Association announced today that a three-year agreement has been reached to bring musicians back to the stage, and audiences back to their seats.

Both Philharmonic management and musicians have made concessions to preserve the future of the organization during this unprecedented time, bringing professional symphonic music back to beloved audiences.

For all involved, this new agreement represents a compromise amidst uncertainty. The number of concerts and rehearsals are reduced in the 2021-22 season and increase each year thereafter. Concurrently, service rates (the wage amount paid for each rehearsal or concert) will increase each year of the agreement. The agreement includes health and safety protections, increased scheduling flexibility, and the basis for healthy organizational growth.

Overall, the compromises in this new agreement set the stage for a phased-in return to normalcy for musicians and patrons.

The Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s first performances will be Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” featuring the Oklahoma City Ballet, on Thanksgiving Weekend. On-sale dates, as well as full details for all upcoming concerts will be announced in mid-October.

Nathan Newbrough, President and CEO, Colorado Springs Philharmonic
“Let me share my outright optimism for the future of great music in Colorado Springs. For 95 years, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic has grown, overcome obstacles, and continued to deliver captivating performances. This new agreement is so much more than the numbers or compromises made. What resounds is the return of our world-class musicians and the world’s finest audience. Our work is done together – always together – and this agreement is a
testament to stout hearts and shared goals. Let our upcoming concerts be a toast to the musicians and patrons who have overcome it all, together.”

Jeremy Van Hoy, CSPO Bass Trombone and Chairman of the Orchestra Players Committee "The Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic are excited to return to the Pikes Peak Center and Ent Center Performing Arts stages this season. This new three-year agreement will provide much-needed employment for all of us and brings professional orchestral music back to the Pikes Peak region. The Philharmonic is the cultural jewel of this area and what is an orchestra without its musicians? We look forward to presenting thrilling new programs with our Music Director Josep Caballé-Domenech and Associate Music Director Thomas Wilson to all of our loyal patrons and fellow music lovers. Please visit the musicians' website,, to view our self-produced pandemic performances."

Sarah Wilson, CSPO Cellist and President of Local #154 American Federation of Musicians “We musicians care so deeply about the future of our orchestra that we accepted salary reductions to get us back to work. We hope that bold artistic vision will be the primary motivation for the Philharmonic’s future decisions and artists will be valued accordingly. In this way we can continue to attract and retain the talented professionals who make the music."

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 27, 2021**

Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic

Contact: Jeremy Van Hoy

Orchestra Players’ Committee, chair



The Musicians and Community Support Professional Classical Music

The musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic are presenting a full-scale symphonic concert at 7:30 pm on Saturday, August 28th at First Methodist Church. This concert is a culmination of the musicians’ summer concert series, which consisted of weekly live-streamed performances at Bancroft Park, weekly chamber music performances at Jives coffee lounge, monthly concerts during First Friday Art Walk events in Old Colorado City, and a live concert at Boot Barn Hall.

Because the Philharmonic board cancelled the musicians’ Collective Bargaining Agreement in September 2020, the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by Philharmonic management from emergency government funding continue to be completely off limits for the musicians until a new CBA can be agreed upon. In the meantime, recognizing their commitment to provide quality music for the community, the musicians have raised the funds for their entire summer concert series from a combination of grants from the Music Performance Trust Fund, local foundations, and individual donors, including their Music Director, Josep Caballé Domenech. The musicians successfully raised more than $35,000 to make it possible for the orchestra members to receive full-scale compensation (equivalent to the wages set by their cancelled CBA) for the August 28 concert. 

Saturday’s program will consist of Saint-Saëns Symphony no. 3 in C minor, featuring Joseph Galema on the organ; Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola, and orchestra with soloists Michael and Cathy Hanson, and Sibelius’s Finlandia, all led by associate conductor Thomas Wilson. Admission is free but donations will be accepted. 

Details here:

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*** - August 12, 2021

Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic 

Contact: Jeremy Van Hoy



Colorado Springs Philharmonic Musicians ready to work!


Force Majeure (Covid crisis) is greatly mitigated and we are ready to get back to work. Why are we not joining the rest of American orchestras? Reinstate cancelled contract.


In a decision issued August 9, 2021, Arbitrator Peter Meyers upheld the cancellation, by reason of force majeure, of the employment contract between the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and its musicians.  Colorado Springs' professional orchestra is at risk.


20 years ago, Colorado Springs Philharmonic musicians earned salaries of $11,901 annually as well as a 70% health insurance benefit.  While not a large sum, it was enough base pay to attract professional musicians to build orchestral careers.  Over the last 20 years, Colorado Springs’ thriving economy and robust growth have been accompanied by a significant increase in the cost of living. Philharmonic management has not made supporting musicians a priority.  


As part of the strategic plan, executed by Sally Hybl and Philharmonic Board President-Elect Pamela Shockley-Zalabak in 2019, one of the primary goals identified for the organization’s growth was to “value our musicians through compensation”. Consistent with that strategic imperative, the Philharmonic’s Board of Directors and Nathan Newbrough signed an employment contract for 76 musicians which increased the average musician’s guaranteed annual salary to $10,593 in 2020, still less than the 2000 levels in a city where the cost of living has skyrocketed.


In September of 2020, only 5 months after signing that contract, the Philharmonic’s Board of Directors backed out of that agreement, a decision upheld in arbitration. Although the cancellation was deemed legal, the strategic imperative to employ an orchestra of professionals is necessary in order to provide quality symphonic concerts for the people of Southern Colorado. There is a risk now that the Philharmonic will lose talented musicians and will be unable to attract comparable replacements.


As they begin the process of bargaining a new contract, the Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic look to the Philharmonic leadership to act with courage and integrity to provide modest but secure wages for Colorado Springs musicians.  The swiftest end to this dispute is by agreeing to contracted guaranteed employment.


Sanctioned by an arbitrator or not, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic cannot exhibit civic leadership while reneging on the promise of salary to employees who have relocated from across the country to dedicate their careers to the fulfillment of the organization’s purpose.  


In order to fulfill its Mission Statement, “to reflect the greatness of our community and the best of human potential through musical excellence, creative discovery, and civic leadership,” the Philharmonic must respect their musicians through fair compensation. The Colorado Springs Philharmonic cannot support musical excellence without supporting excellent musicians. 

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*** -  June 30, 2021

Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic 

Contact: Jeremy Van Hoy



The Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic invite you to join us in several upcoming events:


  • 1st Friday Arts Walk is an important event for art fans in Colorado Springs.  We have a double-reed trio performing at Squash Blossom this Friday (5-6pm). We will also have musicians handing out leaflets with information on our labor struggle with management throughout the Arts Walk, including downtown Colorado Springs.  Musicians and their supporters will gather at 6pm and again at 8pm on the corner of Tejon St. and Kiowa Ave. this Friday.  To sign up, click here:


  • We have weekly outdoor concerts scheduled at Bancroft Park in Old Colorado City every Tuesday at 6pm.  Please join us for unique performances each week.  These concerts are free and open to the public and will continue through the end of August.


  • We also have weekly chamber groups performing from 7 to 8pm each Friday at Jives Coffee Lounge (16 Colbrunn Ct) in Old Colorado City.  Join us and enjoy the scrumptious offerings Jives has on their menu!


  • The Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic have taken it upon themselves to organize and provide performances that are free for our community.  We would like to thank our generous performance sponsors:  Bee Vradenburg Foundation, the Music Performance Trust Fund, Old Colorado City Partnership and our VERY generous maestro (Josep Caballe Domenech).  These performances will continue through August thanks to the generosity of the Joseph Henry Edmondson Foundation.   


While the Philharmonic management refuses to honor our employment agreement, we are determined to maintain the mission of the orchestra: to reflect the greatness of our community and the best of human potential through musical excellence, creative discovery, and civic leadership.  We are doing our part to keep the music going!


Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra

Contact: Jeremy Van Hoy, Players Committee Chair





The Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra (CSPO) invite the public to join us for two short marches on Friday, June 4th from 5-8pm in downtown Colorado Springs.  We were furloughed without pay when the Philharmonic refused to honor our contract last September. Since then, the CSPO has been a Philharmonic without an orchestra.  Performances of the calibre for which we are known have been silenced.  Join us as we strive to preserve everything we contribute to the Pikes Peak region.  


  • We will meet at 5pm and again at 6:30pm at the NE corner of Tejon St. and Colorado Ave.

  • Create a home-made sign with one of these slogans: “Press Play”, “CSPO Unfair”, “Reinstate the Contract”, “Save Our Orchestra”, “Contracts Matter”, "Integrity Matters". 

  • We plan to walk North on Tejon for a block or two, starting at the northeast corner of Tejon and Colorado, then back south to where we started.


We stand ready to go back to work and play concerts for live audiences now. We don't need a new contract.  We need the CSPO to honor the 5-year agreement they signed in 2020.


For more details, watch these recent interviews:


Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic

Contact: Jeremy Van Hoy, Chair of the Players Committee

M: 719-209-3280



Unlawful Cancellation of CBA Lands Colorado Springs Philharmonic Management on AFM International Unfair List

March 12, 2021 -- At the request of the Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) has placed the Colorado Springs Philharmonic on the union’s International Unfair List as of March 8, 2021. The purpose of the Unfair List is to hold orchestras’ management accountable for unfair labor practices.

The Philharmonic’s management is currently in arbitration with the musicians, represented by Pike’s Peak Musicians’ Association, AFM Local 154, regarding management’s refusal to continue negotiations over the 2020-21 season and subsequent cancellation of the 5-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). This contract was the result of many year’s efforts of negotiations and was agreed to by all parties in April 2020. The musicians have been unable to work since this unlawful cancellation of the CBA in September of 2020.

Placing the organization on the Unfair List protects the Philharmonic’s musicians. Being on the List means that the Colorado Springs Philharmonic cannot hire any union musicians to play rehearsals or concerts, which severely limits the number and quality of musicians available. The musicians’ hope is to convince the Philharmonic management to return to the hard-earned contract so the musicians can get back to work, as they have repeatedly demonstrated they are eager to do.

The AFM also filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Colorado Springs Philharmonic with Region 27 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The charge alleges management unlawfully abrogated the CBA when it canceled the contract, failed to provide information that was necessary and relevant for bargaining, and made further bargaining conditional on the withdrawal of grievances filed by the musicians. The charge is currently being investigated by Region 27, which will decide whether to issue a formal complaint. The Philharmonic musicians hope this process leads to the restoration of the 2019-24 CBA and a mutually satisfactory agreement for the musicians to return to work for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Orchestras worldwide have managed to find ways to keep performing during the pandemic without using COVID-19 as an excuse to pull the financial rug out from their musicians or implement unnecessary restructuring. Further, the musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic have repeatedly expressed and demonstrated their desire to support their community with performances while adjusting to accommodate pandemic restrictions and come to an agreement with management that recognizes the hard realities of the pandemic economy.

The Colorado Springs Philharmonic will be removed from the International Unfair List if and when management returns to negotiations with the musicians and reaches an agreement. The musicians have every hope that the Philharmonic’s managers will be reasonable so that its musicians can return to the stage as soon as possible.

Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic

Newsletter #4, February 27, 2021

Please visit: to learn more about our community blood drive.


It's been one year since our last performance...

Perlman Concert Reflections by Kristen Kunkel

The hall was packed. People were elbow to elbow throughout the rows; some were even sitting in the towers behind the orchestra. The lights dimmed; the orchestra tuned; the air was static with the excitement of the night. The great violin legend, Itzhak Perlman, was to perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto with our orchestra. After an introductory piece, the room grew tense as we waited for our guest artist to appear. As his scooter appeared out of the shadows of backstage, a roar of applause erupted from both audience and orchestra. When he finally quieted the audience, the great musician began to play. Despite his age and the myriad of times he had performed this piece, Mr. Perlman made the instrument sing. It was beautiful, electrifying, and memorable. As soon as he finished the final note, the audience once again erupted into thunderous applause. This time it went on for many minutes. I don’t think I have ever heard an ovation last that long. Again and again Mr. Perlman was called back to the stage. The audience kept calling for an encore, but the legend waved his hand after his last stage appearance and said to the violin section, “No more! It’s over.” A short, yet incredibly memorable performance. It takes a certain level of playing to attract a soloist as distinguished as Mr. Perlman. Our music director, Josep Caballé-Domenech, has been working with the orchestra for several years to raise the level of playing. That night we felt we had achieved something special. Little did we know it was the last time we would play together as a full orchestra for many months.

As I look back on that night a year later, I am grateful for that experience. Working with Mr. Perlman in rehearsals and in concert alongside my wonderful colleagues is a memory I will always cherish. Not just for the invaluable musical experience that it afforded; but also because this past year has shown me what an amazing group of musicians we have here in our city. When there is an achievement or a crisis, we pull together as a group. Though we are an incredibly diverse group of people, we work together in unity to accomplish something bigger than ourselves. We are the musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. We are your musicians and this your orchestra. We are here, ready and eager to play music for you, working together behind the scenes to ensure that happens in the near future. As we remember today a thrilling concert in our past, we look forward to many more in our future.


Timeline of Our Struggles with Management

Note: The blue and red sections denote what actually happened and the green section shows what COULD have been possible if management had acted responsibly.


What really happened:

February 27: final live performance (Itzhak Perlman)

March: COVID prompted concert cancellations

April 2: Both parties sign 5 year agreement (contract)

PPP and donations allowed management to meet payroll obligations for remainder of 19-20 season

April-May: Musicians take part in “Take a Stand” campaign, volunteering their time to reach out to patrons

June-July: Musicians agree to concessions regarding banked services from cancellations March to May 2020

July: Cancellation of Sept-January services, invoking force majeure clause. Contract still in place, plans begin for smaller concerts, with $75,000 allocated to pay only musicians involved. Negotiations with Union begin to try to make this work. 

July: Philharmonic releases distanced recordings, solo video performances provided on volunteer basis by Musicians

[no outdoor performances]

September: Board makes “last, best, and final offer” including changes to contract terms not related to relief required due to the pandemic.  Musicians make counter offer asking for SAME FINANCIAL TERMS offered by the Board, while preserving other terms of the existing contract.

September 16: Musicians perform free outdoor service, demonstrating that live music CAN happen now

September 21: Board cancels contract

September 22: Management offers small scale performances to some CSPhil musicians. Musicians decline to play without a contract.

Early October: Union files grievance with CSPO management.

Late October through November: Both sides agree to Mediation, meet five times but fail to reach agreement despite musicians offering more concessions 

February 22: Arbitration begins to decide legality of contract cancellation 


How it could have been different

July: management announces that planned services for September 2020 to January 2021 are on hold, with plans in progress to replace some services with small, “out-of-the-box” events.

August: after negotiating in good faith, musicians and board come to an agreement for a side-letter for 2020-21 season. Musicians agree to a substantial reduction in guaranteed services for 2020-21 season and a graduated return to terms of the contract.*

September: a series of outdoor concerts begins.

October: Philharmonic films a series of pre-recorded concerts to air in time for the holidays and through the winter season.

January: as the post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases recedes, the Philharmonic announces a modest series of live-streamed chamber orchestra concerts*.

February: plans continue for a gradual return to pre-pandemic style season. In the meantime, more innovation and creativity- which will draw new audiences and inject fresh ideas into the future- is poured into events that can be held safely this season*.

* Some examples of events that are happening this season in other orchestras of comparable budget size:

- Oklahoma City Philharmonic is playing a series of 7 classical and 4 pops programs, offering both socially distanced live performances and streaming options.

- Tucson Symphony is offering a series of virtual performances by small chamber groups, as well as dialogues with Symphony musicians and special events such as trivia night and book club.

- Boise Philharmonic is holding at least two digital performances each month through August 2021, involving a variety of small and large chamber music ensembles and spreading the work among the different sections of the orchestra.  They agreed to salaries for this season at 85%.

** Some examples of other orchestras keeping their CBAs intact through pandemic times:

- Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra: Musicians agreed to be paid 60% of their normal wages for 2020-21 season, plus additional per-service income from any services they play, and came to an agreement about health and safety protocols.

- Chicago Lyric Opera: Days before arbitration was scheduled to settle a grievance about improper invocation of force majeure, musicians ratified a 1-year contract modification for July 2020-June 2021. Musicians will be paid half of their planned season pay and waive vacation pay. 

- Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra: Musicians agreed to a one-year modification of their contract. They agreed to a reduction in per-service pay in exchange for the preservation of their service guarantee.

- Cincinnati Symphony: musicians ratified a one-year Memorandum of Understanding to give management leeway to adjust to the realities of the pandemic. Orchestra members took a 10% pay cut. All terms of the pre-existing contract will return to full effect when the Memorandum expires on September 12, 2021.


Easy Double Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe

by Susan Townsend, piccolo


1 Box Devils Food cake mix

1 small package chocolate instant pudding

1/2 cup flour

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup mini chocolate chips



Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine cake mix, pudding mix and flour in large bowl. 

Add in eggs, water and vegetable oil. 

Beat together with electric mixer or by hand until smooth.  

Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into greased bundt pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes then invert onto plate.

Goes great with ice cream!


What We've Been Up To!


An update from Peter Cooper, Timpani:

Hello CSPO community!  I am so happy to be able to reach out to the orchestral music lovers in Colorado Springs to say how much I miss playing in the Pikes Peak Center and seeing our wonderful audience!


I have been able to get some playing in with my wonderful colleagues Robert Jurkscheit, Nena Wright, and Thomas Blomster.  Check out our Drum Trio and BackTalk recordings. I have also been recording online content for the Denver-based group Inside The Orchestra.  This is being distributed through their social networking sites around the world for pre-school aged audiences (and their parents!) all the way up through high school!


I am fortunate to also be able to spend more time supporting my wife in her food distribution commitments.  A Food Bank of the Rockies mobile distribution site, a Littleton-based food pantry site, and a "Panda Packs" weekly delivery for elementary aged students in Sheridan.  And every other Saturday, we cook for New Genesis, a program that supports 100+ men and families housed in downtown Denver.  So my cooking is definitely improving!


But as much as I enjoy cooking for the men on Saturday, I look forward to seeing all of your happy faces some Saturday evening in the very near future!  Thanks for your support!

Peter Cooper


An update from Sarah Bierhaus, Oboe and English Horn:

Since everyone is afraid of woodwinds, I haven’t been performing much! I did one small-orchestra concert with Boulder Philharmonic (will be released next month), and recorded some educational videos, also for Boulder Phil. To keep in shape, I’ve made a bunch of videos for my church using the Acapella app. Things I’ve been geeking out about during pandemic times include Bach cantatas, Handel arias, and old hymns. This video demonstrates my nerdiness- it’s an old hymn called “Within the Maddening Maze of Things” that I transcribed for 2 oboes and 2 English horns.



Tidbits from other folks...

How have you been staying in shape musically? 

 ~ I've been lucky in that I've had several chamber music programs here and there during the pandemic, just enough to kick me back in to shape every now and then (at least temporarily).  They've been recording sessions for virtual programs, wearing masks and the whole bit, but luckily REAL music! (Matt Diekman, viola)


~I recently started a recording project to perform the entire Goldberg Variations on solo bass trombone... seriously!  Follow me on Instagram: @jeremybvh 

(Jeremy Van Hoy, bass trombone)


~I've played along with some recordings because I've felt desperate to make music with other people (Susan Townsend, piccolo and flute)


Where else are you playing?


~Walden Chamber Music in Salida Colorado, the Rio Verde Quartet in Kansas and Missouri, and some virtual programs with the Boulder Philharmonic.( Matt Diekman, viola)


~nothing right now.  I've had a few recording gigs during the pandemic, including the Air Force band. (Jeremy Van Hoy, bass trombone)


~My first foray playing with other humans was in a woodwind quintet for our Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic video campaign ( . I've also been extremely lucky enough to sub with the Colorado Symphony in Denver for a few of their virtual stage productions.  I've gotten to play Beethoven 6 (I cried because that was my first time back with an orchestra), Brahms 4, a brand new piece called Undistant by Mason Bates (so cool!) and Haydn's London Symphony. (Susan Townsend, piccolo and flute)


What do you miss most about performing with the Philharmonic?


~The virtual programs have been rewarding in their own way, but nothing compares to live symphonic music!  It's what we know and what we do, and it's a great feeling for the performers as much as for the audiences.(Matt Diekman, viola)


~ Playing amazing repertoire with great colleagues 5 minutes from my house! (Jeremy Van Hoy, bass trombone)


~I miss sitting on stage with many of my dearest friends and being inspired by their musicality. (Susan Townsend, piccolo and flute)


What has been inspiring you?  


~ (Jeremy Van Hoy, bass trombone)


~Watching my 11 year old son start learning to play electric guitar. Just seeing him be amazed by the sounds he can make makes me want to find new inspirations on my own instruments- granted, I haven't let him go too crazy with the amp! (Susan Townsend, piccolo and flute)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 25, 2021

Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic

Contact: Jeremy Van Hoy



Music is our lifeblood 


We, the Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, have organized a blood drive and are asking you to participate!  We love our community and are finding ways to give back, even during the pandemic. 


If you’d like to help us out, you can sign up with a specific code provided by Vitalant that links your donation to the drive specifically associated with the Musicians.  Click here: 


Donors are encouraged to print out this "Press Play" sign:


Please take the sign to the donation center and then post a selfie with it and post to the CSP Musicians Facebook Page:


For more information on the Musicians’ “Press Play” campaign to help get our contract reinstated, click here:

Press Play! 7.png

For immediate release


Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic

Contact: Jeremy Van Hoy

Orchestra Players’ Committee, chair


December 6, 2020


As many of you know, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic has not performed since the beginning of the pandemic.  We musicians wholeheartedly want to work with the management toward creative solutions to the challenges that the pandemic presents.  We have volunteered on phone lines, waived broadcast fees, and offered many reasonable proposals.   We requested and attended a number of mediation sessions in which we showed our willingness to work toward a solution in good faith. Ultimately, we offered management an extraordinarily high degree of flexibility in regard to performances throughout the term of the pandemic, and for a period of six months afterward.


Unfortunately, our flexibility and collaborative approach have not been reciprocated.  The management has pushed for changes far beyond the needs of the current challenge and ultimately voted to cancel our contract in September.  They have not offered any legitimate proposals since that time.  Management has taken these harmful steps under the guise of “fiscal responsibility,” but these actions ultimately undermine the long term artistic and financial integrity of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.  The illegal cancellation of our contract has endangered the future of not only the organization itself, but also its dedicated and hardworking musicians who call Colorado Springs home.


With the failed mediation process behind us, the Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic have been left with no option but to refer the illegal cancellation of our contract to independent arbitration.  We would prefer not to go this route.  Our management could simply choose to reinstate our contract and return to negotiating common sense adjustments to get us through the pandemic.  We would welcome such an outcome, and we would gladly return to good faith discussions to avoid this expensive and unnecessary process.


With several vaccines nearing approval, it is clearer than ever that the pandemic, while a daunting test of our economy and culture, will eventually come to an end.  When it does, we need a professional orchestra that is ready to continue the great tradition of musical excellence this city deserves.  Many orchestras around our state, the country, and the world have already found ways to perform for their communities, making it clear that it is possible to do so responsibly despite new challenges.  Unfortunately, our organization has not risen to the occasion.  The organization is hemorrhaging funds through administrative salaries without producing any meaningful performances for our community. 


We care about our community and our organization.  Colorado Springs deserves a premier professional orchestra - and it already has one if we can come to a simple agreement.


  • The Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic

For immediate release 

Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic 

Contact: Jeremy Van Hoy 

Orchestra Players’ Committee, chair 


November 5, 2020 



(Colorado Springs, Colorado) The Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra (CSPO) illegally cancelled its contract with Musicians in September. Starting long before that, the Musicians of the CSPO have been in discussions with CSPO management about how best to share the sacrifices needed for the organization to endure the pandemic. For six months we have been offering concessions. Management has rejected each and every offer. 

Most recently, working with a federal mediator, we offered to accept the total loss of our guaranteed salaries for the entire period of the pandemic and for six months beyond the end of the pandemic. Today, representatives of the CSPO decided that wasn’t enough for them. They have made clear that the only resolution they will accept is one that affirms management’s unlawful termination of the five-year agreement they signed only five months ago. 

“Their vision for the future doesn’t seem to involve a professional orchestra,” says cellist Sarah Wilson. “The five-year agreement we bargained assured the continuation of our decades-long trajectory of artistic excellence. When the pandemic ends, Colorado Springs still deserves a professional orchestra. Management’s position will all but ensure that Colorado Springs won’t have one.” 

Given CSPO management’s intransigence and its failure to participate in federal mediation in any meaningful way, the Musicians are forced to consider all of our options going forward, including arbitration of CSPO’s illegal termination of our contract. We stand united and determined to preserve our orchestra for our community, which deserves the joyful experiences the Philharmonic has promised.


October 28, 2020


Contact:  Jeremy Van Hoy

Orchestra Players Committee Chair

C:  719-209-3280


Inviting Colorado Springs to “Press Play!”

Dear Colorado Springs Philharmonic Patrons, Supporters, and Board Members:

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing performing arts organizations around the globe to find new ways to create live art that can heal and inspire our communities and leaders. We, the professional musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, recognize the need for adaptability in this pandemic’s ever-changing landscape. 

It is therefore with interest and concern that we would like to respond to recent statements that have been made by our leadership that mislead our community regarding the commitment and flexibility of the professional musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. The musicians stand ready to serve our community while taking steps that will preserve our Philharmonic.  We believe that if we act together, thoughtfully and with vision, we can strengthen classical music in our community both now and for the future. 

When the shutdowns began in March, we responded by immediately putting our organization and our community first. We logged hundreds of volunteer hours for the Philharmonic, reaching out to our patrons by phone, writing letters, and performing without additional pay for a series of video performances that the Philharmonic shared with the community online. We also donated the broadcasting rights for 95 recorded concerts “from the vault” for KCME to broadcast.  It felt good to connect with our audience and support our orchestra during such an uncertain time. It was the right thing to do.

The Philharmonic started this season in a strong financial position.  Musician concessions along with federal PPP funding further fortified the organization's bottom line. During negotiations this summer, we agreed with the financial modifications the Philharmonic requested of us. In fact, we went further and offered a compensation package costing less than $500,000 – representing a reduction of nearly 60% of the cost of a typical season – knowing that the long-term stability of the organization was paramount. We hoped our flexibility would encourage the Philharmonic to adopt the multi-faceted, innovative solutions that are vital at this crucial time.

We were therefore shocked and dismayed when the Philharmonic leadership abruptly shifted course and informed us that they were unilaterally terminating our contract in its entirety. We worked collaboratively in good faith for over a year to create our 5-year agreement which balances the needs of the Philharmonic with those of its musicians.  This contract was ratified by both parties only months ago.  Now it appears that the pandemic is being used as a tool to break this commitment unnecessarily when short-term modifications would suffice.

We know that many members of our Board care deeply about the musicians, the organization, and our community.  We fear they may have been presented with an artificial choice: vote to cancel the musician's contract, or face the orchestra's certain financial doom.  Why artificial?  We had already agreed to the financial concessions requested and had even proposed less costly options to ensure financial stability for the organization.  Additionally, the contract protects the professional caliber of the orchestra and cancelling it would have disastrous and far-reaching effects on our Philharmonic’s survival. Without it, there is no incentive for highly qualified musicians to come to Colorado Springs and establish a presence in our community, and current members may now find their lives here untenable.

In their effort to cancel the contract, the Philharmonic leadership relies upon language alleging that it is impossible for the Philharmonic to perform.  Soon after the vote took place, however, the Philharmonic management attempted to hire musicians for several performances that could have easily been possible under the terms of our existing contract.  Sadly, because management unlawfully terminated our contract and unilaterally imposed terms without negotiating, we have been unable to participate in these performances.

But it’s not too late!  We have dedicated our lives to music, and we want very much to perform for our community at the highest professional level. The musicians stand ready and willing to work with our leadership to find a solution that works financially while preserving the long-term excellence of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.  With ingenuity, we can perform now while protecting the health and safety of our patrons and our performers.  We can also ensure that our organization emerges from the pandemic and fulfills its mission for many years to come.

We are hoping our community will join us in this effort.  We are calling it “Press Play!” for many reasons, but most importantly, this is an effort to return professional orchestral music to our community!  If you share our goals, help us “Press Play!” by urging the Colorado Springs Philharmonic leadership and our Board to honor the agreed-upon contract we worked so hard to achieve. Connect with us via email and Facebook (see below), and stay tuned for live, digital performances featuring your Colorado Springs Philharmonic Musicians!

Thank you,

The Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic

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