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SPCO Musicians Ratify Agreement, Call For New Leadership

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra ratified a three-year agreement with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Society on Monday, calling for the search of a new SPCO leader.

Officials with the SPCO issued a press release Monday afternoon saying they are "deeply concerned" about the ensemble's future.

They say they are looking for a leader with "proven orchestra management experience, and the vision and skill to substantially increase revenues."

Carole Mason Smith, chair of the Musicians Negotiating Committee, said if revenues aren't significantly increased in the next few years, the artistic quality of the orchestra will suffer.

"We're eager and excited to return to the stage and play music again for our loyal audiences," Mason Smith said in the press release. "We've keenly missed performing for our community, but we remain deeply concerned about the artistic quality of the SPCO for future generations."

After negotiations on April 22 and 23, the negotiating committee strongly recommended ratification.

The new contract requires more than 22 percent reduction in annual salary of the musicians and up to a 20-percent reduction in their additional compensation for special skills and leadership roles.

The SPCO musicians have been locked out for 191 days. The lockout expires on Tuesday, April 30.

According to the group's website, if the terms are approved, concerts would begin again on May 9.


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