Spring weather has finally arrived, the stock market looks stable, and here's more good news: The musicians of the press release (PDF). "We feel we have arrived at a flexible and fair contract."
"I am pleased to have this contract ratified and move forward," says WCO executive director Doug Gerhart. "We have so much to look forward to."
The settlement brings to an end the acrimonious dispute that, starting last October, all but demolished the chamber orchestra's indoor season. As concerts were cancelled one after another, musicians picketed and performed strike concerts at alternative venues. Labor and management exchanged barbs in press releases and news reports.
The agony of the strike accompanied other bad arts news, including layoffs at Overture Center, Madison Ballet's scuttled season and the shuttering of Madison Repertory Theatre, a 40-year-old institution. Thanks largely to the recession, it was a truly horrific year on the local arts scene.
But over the last few days there were glimmers of hope, as chamber orchestra musicians agreed to perform the Concerts on the Square summer series and the indoor season's final concert, which took place April 24. And now comes news of the settlement, along with schedule details of the chamber orchestra's 2009-2010 season. They include an appearance Nov. 14 by legendary flutist Sir James Galway and a performance of The Messiah at Blackhawk Church Dec. 11. Missing from the schedule, though, are familiar, family-themed chamber orchestra events, like the costumed Halloween performance and the spring "blue jeans" event.
But Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra fans can be grateful for some long-awaited stability. And for the arts scene at large, here's hoping for even more stability.