As a professional orchestra musician in Milwaukee, I know that having highly trained musicians around adds much more to a community than what an orchestra provides. Orchestra musicians with family-supporting incomes are able to perform in many other musical capacities, including small chamber music groups, chamber orchestras, and teaching. In Milwaukee, for instance, the critically acclaimed contemporary music organization Present Music likely would not exist without orchestra musicians around to not only help fill its ranks, but to also provide freelance employment to other highly professional musicians who are not full time orchestra members. The Milwaukee Symphony is an anchor for an entire musical ecosystem, as the Grand Rapids Symphony also should be, given its current thriving economic climate.
ICSOM Delegate, Milwaukee Symphony