St. Paul Chamber Orchestra announces first deficit in 10 years

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By Sarah Barchus

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra said Tuesday that it has a deficit of $895,080 for the fiscal year that ended June 30, the Pioneer Press reported.

The deficit is the first that the SPCO reported in a decade and comprises about 9 percent of its expenses, the Star Tribune reported.

SPCO president and board chair Dobson West said that the orchestra had cut expenses by $1.5 million, which prevented deficits since 2008. The cut included laying off 17 percent of administrative staff and slicing the management's and musicians pay, the Star Tribune reported.

But West said that "if significant changes are not made" that the SPCO will see even larger deficits, the Star Tribune reported.

For example, the Minnesota Orchestra is expected to report a deficit of 19 percent of its expenses, the Star Tribune reported.

Musicians from both orchestras are restricted from performing at their facilities due to contract disputes, the Star Tribune reported. Additionally, the musician's concerts and paychecks were cancelled for the rest of the year, the Pioneer Press reported.

The musicians are not willing to make the sacrifices management is asking of them and they are unhappy with how much control it is taking of the orchestra, the Pioneer Press reported.

However, Lynn Erickson, co-chair of the musicians' negotiating committee, said that the musicians are "very interested in getting back to the table and trying to find a resolution to all of this," the Pioneer Press reported.

Meanwhile, the SPCO musicians performed at the Wayzata Community Church and are scheduled to play at the Minneapolis' Central Lutheran Church Dec. 20 and 21, the Pioneer Press reported.

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