I have been dismayed to learn of the current contentious contract negotiations between the Grand Rapids Symphony and its musicians. Only six years ago the musicians accepted a nearly 20% cut in their income, and have seen the percentage of the Symphony budget dedicated to their livelihood drop dramatically. With the West Michigan economy one of the nation’s healthiest, these cuts are incomprehensible. The Symphony management proposal will mean that many of these fine musicians will no longer be able to make a living in Grand Rapids.
The benefits of our Grand Rapids Symphony extend far beyond those in its audience. In addition to bringing us their world-class performances, the musicians provide educational services, outreach to hospital patients, and extensive collateral economic stimulus to our community. If the Symphony management is successful in their attempt to further degrade this fine organization, we will all be the poorer. Please add your voices to those who want to see progress, not deterioration.