Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Atlanta Ballet

I received this email (along with the rest of the members in the Atlanta Federation of Musicians) from John Head about the Atlanta Ballet doing away with the orchestra. It makes me shutter personally to think about them using canned music:

August 1, 2006
To- All Local Members:
From- John Head
Re: Atlanta Ballet

I'm sure you have all read about the decision by the Atlanta Ballet
management to eliminate the orchestra from all future productions.
We are pursuing all courses of action to restore negotiations to get
this decision reversed.

It is occasions like this that our unity as an organization comes
into play. I encourage all of you to write or email the Ballet
management protesting this action. I also ask that you encourage
friends and family to also write letters. This effort on your part
can create an outpouring of public support for the orchestra, and
will go a long way toward convincing the Ballet management that this
action will ultimately be extremely detrimental to the future of
this organization.

Emails should be sent to: JMcFall@atlantaballet.com
Letters should be mailed to:

Mr. John McFall, Director
Atlanta Ballet
1400 West Peachtree St., N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30309

Your cooperation with this project will be greatly appreciated.

Fraternally yours,
John Head, President
Local 148-462


Nicole Randall said...

Here's a petition to show support for the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra:


Curtis Bryant said...

My wife wrote the following letter to John McFall: Dear Mr. McFall:

I must say that when we read in the paper that the Atlanta Ballet had
cancelled its contract with the orchestra and from here on would only use
recorded music, we were extremely upset, and continue to be. I wrote you a
letter in the Spring expressing my dissatisfaction because you were not
crediting composers appropriately in your programs or on your Website. I
got no reply. I know you are very busy but the courtesy of an
acknowledgement would have been appreciated. The silence only my confirmed
my disappointment that music was not a priority at the Atlanta Ballet. And
now to hear that the orchestra has been let go, is really unacceptable. We
recently renewed our subscription for 4 attendees for your series. We are
seriously considering asking for our money back until the orchestra is
reinstated. It is an injustice to the orchestra members as well as to your
audience and the dancers as well, and especially with no notice at all, to
take such an action. Neither did you offer any sort of mechanism for us to
get a refund if we were dissatisfied. If we do keep our tickets for this
year, it will be with sad hearts, and out of disappointment and protest,
we will not renew them in the future until live music is again part of the
performance. There are other ways of scaling back on production, such as
cutting one performance and giving the audience the option of donating the
cost of their tickets, if the reason for cutting the orchestra was
budgetary. That would be logical and understandable, and would generate
good will. But this situation is really unacceptable. I hope you can
resolve whatever issues the ballet is having soon, and we will hear the
good news that the orchestra has been reinstated. I really don't want to
have to make that phone call to cancel our tickets, and we would be
disappointed to miss the season. But live music is a big motivator for our
attendance at the ballet. Thank you for listening. Sincerely, Nancy,
Curtis and Colman Bryant and Joslyn McGuire

Ron Westman said...

This seems to be a part of a trend toward the replacement of live performing musicians by electronic counterparts. The advent of the Garritan Personal Orchestra and the Garritan Jazz and Big Band libraries makes available to users of Finale, Sibelius, and other sequencing programs, a VERY close simulacrim of orchestras, jazz groups, and other ensembles. I do MOT claim that these electronic imitations can really take the place of live performing musicians --- I am familiar with some of their limitations --- but it is my impression that bean counters rarely have golden ears. (Or if they do, they are not in a position to use them.) Perhaps the REAL challenge here is to find ways to (re)build the audiences to restore the necessary revenue streams.