APRIL 1, 2023

APRIL 1, 2023
April 1, 2023 leonard slatkin

Quad counties to merge orchestral institutions

Mesquala, NE

In a highly unexpected move, the collective boards of the orchestras in Abilonia, Quintanova, Mesquala, and Sustanati counties have voted to merge their four groups and call the resulting organization the QUAS Symphonic Ensemble. Although each county has maintained an independent orchestra for the past thirty-five years, sources say that the financial pressures have been too great to surmount.

Said Abilonia Symfonietta executive director Susan Chaffee, “It was clear that the pandemic basically wiped out sustainability, and we had to find a way to maximize our already-minimal budget.” She went on to say, “We have always had a fine relationship with our colleagues from across the mountains and rivers, so putting the groups together makes the most sense.”

Each of the orchestras has a core contingent of 26 musicians but, as Quintanova board chair Samuel Quaver explained, “The ability to now play many works that were infeasible with smaller forces opens up so many possibilities for our audience.” When asked if that meant that the total forces would increase to 104 musicians, Quaver hedged. “I am not sure if Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto would benefit from the enlarged ensemble.”

Abigail Thomas, the only violist in the Sustanati Chamber Symphony, stated, “No one wants to lose their job over this merger. But given the makeup of the four orchestras, we may not want seven clarinets in a single group.”

The heads of Locals 867-8-9 and 11 (there used to be a fifth orchestra in the region) all decried this proposal. In a joint statement, they wrote: “Although in principle we understand the need to tighten belts, we feel that all the current musicians should keep their positions. So what if the brass section will outnumber the strings? You can’t hear them anyway.”

As to where the new orchestra would play, the acting board chair in Mesquala speculated, “We are thinking of building a new hall in each of our major cities. With the increased number of musicians, there simply is no space to put the larger group currently, although we have considered playing in high school gymnasiums. This might be difficult if there is a game going on at the same time as a concert.”

All of this is subject to the approval of each county council. They are all expected to turn down the request. Alderman William Portsmouth seemed to express the sentiments of many when he commented, “No one is coming out to hear the 26 players perform now, and even fewer would attend for 104.”

When pressed about his math and that you cannot have attendance numbers less than zero, Portsmouth spinned it by stating, “You have your way of counting and I have mine.”