Local music lovers can walk with an extra spring in their step, at least till the end of July. The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra announced Wednesday that despite the ensemble's ongoing dispute with its musicians, this summer it will proceed with the full slate of Concerts on the Square performances, as scheduled. The series begins June 24 and features weekly Wednesday-evening concerts through July 29.
"We are looking forward to another great season -- our 26th year," says WCO executive director Doug Gerhart in a press release (PDF). "Perhaps now more than ever people need a chance to relax and celebrate with family and friends. The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Concerts on the Square will provide that respite once again."
Today is the deadline the WCO gave the musicians to declare whether they would perform the series. When I spoke to Gerhart the week before last, he told me that if the musicians would not agree to play the series, "We will explore other options." Meanwhile, the musicians also have agreed to perform this weekend's program of Rossini, Beethoven and Haydn in the last indoor concert of the chamber orchestra's season.
So come on down! Here at Isthmus' King Street offices we're always tickled on warm Wednesday evenings to see groups of people staggering up the boulevard for Concerts on the Square. They're lugging camp chairs, blankets, picnic baskets, and they're ready for a night of music.
True, Concerts' regular pops offerings and the many distractions of downtown Madison make the event an imperfect one for folks who are truly serious about music. But if you like a little Verdi with your brie or your brat, and you like to sit on the grass and look at people and enjoy some all-too-fleeting wondrous Wisconsin weather, then the news that Concerts will proceed as scheduled is fabulous.