Musicians step up to save faltering symphony - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Musicians step up to save faltering symphony

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Posted: Friday, January 11, 2008 10:06 pm | Updated: 9:29 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Symphony of the Southwest is showing signs of survival after abruptly canceling shows and announcing the resignation of its director last month.

One of the most promising signs is that musicians in the orchestra are stepping up to take on more responsibility for the group’s success.

But the symphony, which drew criticism from patrons after canceling shows, is still struggling financially and has received few calls showing support during the past few weeks of tension, said Skip Carney, board president.

The board for the symphony, previously known as the Mesa Symphony, met Thursday to discuss the future of the organization now that former executive director Guillaume Grenier-Marmet has accepted another job.

At the meeting, several members of the orchestra said they would step in and help raise money and be more involved with the group, which is not typical for symphonies, said music and artistic director Cal Kellogg.

“I was deeply moved by their gesture,” he said. “I think the musicians are by and large incredibly enthusiastic and tenacious about keeping the group alive and well.”

The group is facing a tough financial situation but will have ample funds to pay its musicians for their work on two December performances, Carney said.

“The whole country is experiencing having to tighten the belt with less discretionary money. That’s not unique to Mesa,” Carney said. “There’s some consolation that we’re not alone in this.”

The group also intends to host its scheduled fundraiser next week and will perform concerts in March and May.

After the fundraiser, the board will meet again to review facts and figures and decide how to lead the group. In the meantime, the executive director’s duties will be split among members of the staff and the board.

Carney sent a letter to patrons on Dec. 21 announcing the resignation of Grenier-Marmet, who accepted a position with the Arizona Musicfest.

The letter also announced that the symphony would cancel upcoming shows but asked patrons to consider donating the cost of the tickets.

Some people have since donated their tickets to the group, Carney said. But he’s concerned about the lack of feedback from the community.

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