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A Sunny Forecast in Jacksonville

by Paul Austin - GRS Horn


As one of the founding members of ROPA (Regional Orchestra Players' Association) in 1984, the musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony had always been very active in that organization. Over time, we saw that our peer orchestras were members of ICSOM (International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians), and we were honored in 2013 to join that organization. With a similar budget size, as well as the same structure of full time and per service musicians, Grand Rapids and Jacksonville orchestras are quite comparable. This is precisely why GRSMA was so pleased to see the news about the successful outcome of their recent negotiation.


Those who have been following the Jacksonville Symphony know that their path has not been easy. Ten years ago, the Jacksonville musicians were locked out during their contentious negotiations. In 2007, ICSOM issued their first ever Call to Action for one of their member orchestras. Even though we were members of ROPA at that time, GRSMA collected $800 to send to the Jacksonville musicians as a sign of solidarity.


As we fast forward to today, we see that things have really turned around for those musicians. An article in last month's issue of ICSOM's newsletter "Senza Sordino" explains the history of their negotiations over the past ten years and provides the details of the five-year agreement reached in Jacksonville. Upon reading it, I am sure that you will see that the future there is bright.


By the end of their new agreement, the Jacksonville Symphony will have a single tier level of musician contract, meaning that all of their musicians will be full time. We congratulate the musicians of the Jacksonville Symphony for their recent success, and we wish them the best.

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