In an email message from 1/2/2008, Jacksonville Symphony Association (JSA) Executive Director, Alan Hopper, confirmed that the message appearing on the jsomusicians.org message board on 12/28/2007 was written by JSA executive board member Tom Beames (details of that letter are available here). Hopper also confirmed that personalized versions of the letter have been distributed to some individuals; however, there was no response to questions about whether or not Tom Beames plans to step down from the JSA board or if the board will ask him to resign…
In a telephone interview from 12/19/207 Alan Hopper also confirmed that at that time, there have been two staff layoffs but there have been no discussions about cancelling staff health care benefits. Furthermore, the organization’s Music Director, Fabio Mechetti, has not had his compensation or benefits impacted in any way since the musicians were locked out in mid-November. In related news, the JSA announced that their Masterworks Series “Sweet Firebird” performances on January 10, 11 and 12, 2008 have been cancelled. As in previous cancellations, ticket holders can contact the Jacksonville Symphony box office at 904-354-5547 or by visiting jaxsymphony.org.
As the lockout drags into its seventh week, members of the Jacksonville community have banded together to form a fundraising organization, called the Friends of the Jacksonville Symphony Fund, with the goal of bridging the financial gap publicly reported by the JSA and the musicians. At the same time, the JSA board has been very clear that they do not consider any difference in bargaining positions as a “gap”; instead, they have remained firm in their position that the only financial parameters they’ll consider are those established in their previous strategic planning sessions.
Nevertheless, the new fundraising organization remains committed to their stated goal. According to an announcement posted at the jsomusician.org message board “contributions to the Friends will go to a fund set up at the Community Foundation, an umbrella organization that hosts a multitude of accounts for various philanthropic issues. As the fund grows, the board of the Friends group will determine what grants to make, with the money generally required to go to non-profit organizations such as the symphony.” Due to the fact that they are operating under the auspices of the Community Foundation, donations are tax deductible and can include gifts of stock.
Although the group does not have a website yet, donations made payable to “The Community Foundation” can be mailed to:
Friends of the Jacksonville Symphony Fund
The Community Foundation
121 West Forsyth Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202