On Sunday evening, the Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony voted to reject another regressive contract offer from the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Management. This resounding rejection of continued cuts to musician salaries represents the musicians’ continued and unified call for a long-term strategy for growth from our management. Musicians have not seen a full recovery of the 13.5% pay cut from 2010, despite a local economic resurgence. We are enduring an exodus of long-time members at twice the rate of last decade, and are being asked to play the same number of concerts per year in fewer paid weeks. The city of “Cowboys and Culture” deserves better. We will provide updates as they occur, so please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
You can help by calling or writing the Fort Worth Symphony TODAY and telling them that you support the musicians and that a progressive agreement needs to be reached immediately to ensure that the music doesn't stop. 817-665-6500 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please click here to learn about the most recent news and updates in our contract negotiations.
The Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra have learned that the FWSO management has created a Frequently Asked Questions page about our contract negotiations on the FWSO website. Unfortunately, this page includes many errors and misconceptions. We have compiled a list of facts that address the errors, and you can read it at our website here.
How long have you been coming to FWSO concerts? What do you think are the biggest changes to the Fort Worth Symphony since you started attending?
I was singing in FWSO choral concerts way back in the early 1990’s (remember those bad orchestral acoustics at the convention center?). Over the years, we’ve seen the level of musicianship grow and world-class performers come and join the orchestra and make Fort Worth their home.
Are you a subscriber?
We have subscribed for many years…but this year we have purposely held back subscribing waiting to see when the management and board will take steps to go beyond the status quo. We support the musicians but also want the administration to know we are looking for strong leadership before we merely sign up again without their considering how many of us in the community feel about the seeming lack of direction. (No one coerced me to say this…there are many of us who feel this way and whose only recourse seems to be voting with our pocket books, unfortunately)
How did you get interested in classical music?
Back when I was in the 6th grade, my elementary school offered a strings program. About 10 kids from my class decided to try it out…9 girls plus me! Someone was very smart organizing that program because they said, “If you play violin or cello you have to provide your own instrument — if you pick viola or bass, we’ll give you a loaner.” We had 8 violas and 2 violins that year! I was rather competitive, so I never lost my first chair spot all the way through high school….I was hooked! From 10th – 12th grade, I played viola as a paid student intern in the San Angelo Symphony. I grew to love classical music even more because my friends were flipping burgers while I was being paid to play the masterpieces.
What keeps you coming back year after year?
I am a symphony nerd…the only music I prefer listening to is from the 80’s or any knd of orchestral piece/chamber work. My wife, Sarah, and I reared our daughter, Atlee, to listen to classical from infancy. She got bitten by the bug too (and now plays viola way better than I ever did). As she developed her musical chops, our first outlet for her to see and hear live performances of good caliber music was to take her to the FWSO. We now have several friends in the FWSO who have been so kind to encourage her musical pursuits….proving that FWSO musicians care about their community!
Has there been a particularly memorable FWSO concert that stands out to you?
I was privileged to sing in the mass choir that opened Bass Hall on its inaugural weekend. Carmina Burana was performed and the energy on stage and in the hall was electric. We all knew good things were ahead for the arts in Cowtown after these concerts.
In May 2015, the FWSO played a concert side-by-side with the FW Youth Orchestra (FWYO). My daughter was sitting FWYO principal viola next to the FWSO ass’t principal, just a couple of feet away from Miguel Harth-Bedoya at the podium. The students played marvelously and we were all proud…but it was also humbling for us parents to know that the FWSO musicians had given their time and talents to undergird and support these young performers — it was a perfect fusion of when music intersects humanity.
Just recently we were in attendance when Alessio Bax was a last minute substitute during the Kholodenko tragedy. We knew how the musicians were experiencing grief themselves and had virtually no practice time with the soloist — yet they all poured out their souls while you could feel a palpable sense of the concentration being exercised to present a work of sheer beauty. It was one of those moments where Hans Christian Anderson’s quote, “Where words fail, music speaks” was never more true.
Anything else you'd like to add?
It’s clear the trajectory of musical talent has been climbing over the years….many unsung people worked tooth and nail for decades to achieve this growth. The community doesn’t want to lose what has taken so long to build up. Let’s all support our musicians and urge the leadership to launch a capital campaign!
Did You Know
DID YOU KNOW that economic growth in the Fort Worth area has grown 32.5% since 2010? In that same period of time, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra budget has not increased and its musicians are facing total salary cuts of over 20%. Compare that to another town proud of its culture: Kansas City. Their area economic growth since 2010 increased by only 11%. The KCSO musicians just ratified a contract that gives them a 19% pay increase over the next four years. BOTTOM LINE? FWSO musicians were making about $15,000 more/year than KCSO musicians in 2010. By 2020, the opposite will be true.
Rogene Russell Scholarship Fund
Investing in Musical Futures
Fort Worth Symphony oboist Rogene Russell has been honored with a $500,000 scholarship fund in her name, endowed through the generosity of Don and Norma Stone. The fund, held at The Dallas Foundation, will provide college scholarships to Dallas public school students who wish to pursue degrees in music. “It is a privilege for Fine Arts Chamber Players to help develop the talent of so many DISD high school students who are challenged to pay for music lessons. With this extraordinary lead gift from the Stones, we will be able to continue nurturing these young musicians at the college level,” said Rogene Russell. “I am profoundly humbled and honored that my name is associated with this magnanimous fund initiated by the generosity of Don and Norma Stone.”
“Rogene has made us aware that there are musically gifted, highly talented students in Dallas who need mentoring and financial assistance to reach their musical potential,” commented the Stones. “The fund can provide some of their needed financing each year. Musical genius needs to be supported.”
The Rogene Russell Scholarship Fund is open for additional contributions of any amount. More information on contributing to the Fund may be found at www.dallasfoundation.org under “I’d like to Give to a Fund.” The first scholarships from the Fund will be awarded in early 2017, and the application process will begin in fall 2016. Application information will be posted on The Dallas Foundation and Fine Arts Chamber Players websites in fall 2016. For more information, contact Rachel Assi, Executive Director of Fine Arts Chamber Players, at 214-520-2219 or via email, email@example.com.
In addition to being one of the FWSO's original full-time musicians, Rogene co-founded Fine Arts Chamber Players (FACP) in 1981 with former FWSO bassoonist Charles Price. For nearly four decades she has dedicated herself to organizing free chamber music concerts and free in-school music education for hundreds of thousands of North Texas residents. Many FWSO musicians are active in FACP activities including violinist Rosalyn Story who teaches free after school violin lessons to elementary school students. FACP has just concluded its popular Basically Beethoven Festival summer series which featured Fort Worth Symphony musicians Molly Norcross and Peter Unterstein. On April 15, 2017, Fine Arts Chamber Players partners with The Cliburn to present pianist Claire Huangci with FWSO concertmaster Michael Shih, FWSO violinist Steven Li and FWSO principal cellist Allan Steele in a free Bancroft Family Concert at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Have you gotten your T-shirt yet? These shirts were beautifully designed by our principal violist Laura Bruton. They are $20 each, adult sizes S-3X, and can be purchased online by emailing orders to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also selling yard signs with the same design for $10 each.
T-shirts and yard signs will also be for sale at select venues, so stay tuned to our Facebook page to find out when and where we'll be!
Pictured left are Seth McConnell, timpani, and Keira Fullerton, cello. Right, violist Aleksandra Holowka stands behind a yard sign with her daughter, Ela, and neighbors, violist Dan Sigale and Samson.
Harmony in the Kitchen Recipes
Fall brings such busy days with the beginning of school and a new symphony season. I'm not quite ready to haul out my crock pot for autumn stews, but I do need something fast and easy to get to the table. My kids were always so delighted whenever I made this --and yet it is soooo simple! This little shrimp dish is also versatile, you can use the cream sauce on fresh fish or grilled chicken, over vegetables or as the base for a yummy soup. Best of all, the ingredients are easy to keep on hand so you can have something fast and easy whenever you need it. My Mom seasoned her shrimp with Old Bay Seasoning, but just use your favorite Creole seasoning or some ground red pepper.
-Marilyn d'Auteuil, Violinist
Shrimp With Roasted Red Pepper Cream
In the blender combine:
1 12oz jar of roasted red peppers-drained
1 8oz package of cream cheese - use low fat if it your conscience dictates
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
Saute 1-2 lbs raw shrimp, peeled in a small amount of olive oil, pour in roasted red pepper mixture and gently heat. Serve over vermicelli, (zucchini noodles or lightly steamed cauliflower are also great options). sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.
Chocolate Cinnamon Cake
If you want to really celebrate, stir this little cake together and pop it in the oven to bake before you start dinner. It will be ready just in time for dessert- and if there is any leftover it will be great in a lunchbox.
1 & 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts - optional
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 8 inch square pan with oil or cooking spray.
Mix dry ingredients, stir together wet ingredients, combine them all in one bowl and then spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. I like to serve this still warm with a little vanilla ice cream!
Thank you to the many additional musicians who performed with us this month!