As a long time supporter of the Grand Rapids symphony, I wish to call to your attention a most unfortunate development between the Symphony board and the Symphony musicians.
As you know, the Grand Rapids Symphony is currently in negotiations for a new contract with its musicians. It should be noted that when “hard times” came eight years ago, the players took a cut in pay and benefits to keep the Symphony going and in spite of this, the skills of musicians moved the Symphony into the top class of national symphonies.
Now “good times” have returned, but it is my understanding that the Board is offering even less pay and benefits. This is totally unfair. If the board wishes to keep a first class symphony in Grand Rapids, they must at least make up the previous pay cuts and they should also turn as many part-time positions into full-time to enable the Symphony to continue its climb to greater achievements.
If Grand Rapids wants to be a first class city, it needs a first class symphony. With a growing economy, the staff should be able to finance increased salaries to attract the best musicians to create that first class orchestra that we all want.
John R. Hunting