Detroit; In Their Own Words

Chris Felcyn of Detroit’s WRCJ 90.9 FM recently sat down with representatives from Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s (DSO) management and musicians and allowed them to present statements about the current negotiations. Felcyn then presented those comments from DSO Cellist Haden McKay and DSO President and Executive Director Anne Parsons on his program, The Well-Tempered Wireless.  In an age where print outlets continue to dominate, having an audio resource where listeners can take inflection and tone into account is a luxury…

Felcyn does a good job at following up with questions to McKay’s statement but Parsons’ statement did not include questions. Overall, the segment goes a long way toward helping everyone form a clearer view on the situation. You can listen to the audio file under the August 16, 2010 heading located at

Negotiation Countdown Highlights:

  • The DSO’s collective bargaining Agreement expires on 12:00 midnight, Sunday, 8/29/2010.
  • The next scheduled bargaining session is Friday, 8/27/2010.
  • Management’s “Plan A” offer expires on Saturday, 8/28/2010.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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2 thoughts on “Detroit; In Their Own Words”

  1. Our intention from the beginning was to frame an important issue for our listeners with statements from each side “in their own words,” as your headline aptly puts it.

    The lack of any questions in Anne’s segment as aired should not be taken as an indication of any reticence on her part. Both segments were edited for clarity and time, both sessions had several stops and starts.

    My question to Haden was left in to avoid confusion; questions to Anne were edited out because in my judgement they weren’t necessary.

    My own impression here is that, despite their serious differences, both sides are genuinely passionate about continuing to provide a superb artistic resource to the people of Detroit.

    • Hi Chris and thanks for the added insight. It’s looking more and more like regardless of passion, both sides seem to be outlining a very different definition of what constitutes an acceptable artistic resource. Ideally, they’ll come to an agreement sometime in the next week and a half; otherwise, we’ll see what happens.

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