According to representatives from the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra (JSO), bargaining sessions mediated by a Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service mediator with the musicians are scheduled to resume at 12:00 noon ET, Friday, 11/30/2007. At stake immediately is the fate of the First Coast Nutcracker performances, which the JSO is scheduled to provide live music as a pit orchestra. Since the lockout began, JSO Executive Director, Alan Hopper, has made public statements that the organization plans to provide recorded music for the Nutcracker performances if the lockout persists…
At the same time, if an agreement is not reached by the end of next week, the JSO musicians have announced that they will be picketing Nutcracker performances that utilize recorded music. There is no information on the JSO website as to whether or not there will be any refunds for ticket buyers who are displeased with the use of recorded music. However, according to JSO Director of Public Relations, Paul Witkowski, no new statements on the Nutcracker will be made until after the scheduled talks at the end of this week.
Furthermore, the JSO website states that the organization responsible for presenting the First Coast Nutcracker is the Jacksonville Symphony Volunteer Guild. When contacting the Guild’s representative directly with questions about Nutcracker ticket policy, Paul Witkowski responded via email stating that the organization had neglected to edit the Guild’s webpage at the JSO website to reflect that the First Coast Nutcracker is no longer part of the Guild’s fundraising efforts. However, at the time of publication, the JSO Guild webpage states that their organization is responsible for “orchestrating a variety of other innovative fundraising events throughout the year that include Picnic at the Pops, Music for Your Eyes
and First Coast Nutcracker [UPDATE: 12:00 noon 11/29/07, the JSO Guild webpage has been updated to exclude mention of the First Coast Nutcracker], The Guild is proud to be singled out by the [Jacksonville Symphony Association] as its largest volunteer contributor.” The JSO Public Relations Office did not respond to inquires as to whether the JSO or a separate organization had assumed the responsibilities associated with presenting the First Coast Nutcracker and/or setting ticket policy. UPDATE: 12:00 noon 11/29/07, the JSO Public Relations Department confirmed that the First Coast Nutcracker Ballet, Inc. is responsible for setting ticket policies for all performances.]