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NY Times: Many Helping Hands Offered to Louisiana Orchestra's Players

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by brianrost, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The New York Times
    September 6, 2005
    Many Helping Hands Offered to Louisiana Orchestra's Players

    From spare harp strings to violin repairs to a place to live and practice, offers of help from around the country are pouring in to the musicians of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

    Other orchestras, mostly regional ensembles where the pool of available musicians is small, are lending a hand, too. Many have offered temporary jobs or the prospect of auditions to the Philharmonic's 66 players, who have scattered around the country. All but one of the musicians had safely left the city or were already elsewhere for summer engagements, members of the orchestra said yesterday. The remaining player, Burton Callahan, a violinist, had been preparing to board an evacuation bus over the Labor Day weekend.

    "It looks like he may have made it," said David Rosen, a cellist in the orchestra, who spoke from his parents' home in Santa Monica, Calif. "He's not answering his phone. That's a good sign." He said Mr. Callahan continued to receive phone calls through the week despite the absence of service in most of the city.

    Drew McManus, a classical music consultant and commentator, opened up his blog (www.artsjournal.com/adaptistration) as a clearinghouse for the Louisiana musicians. He said he had verified the whereabouts of about 35 of them.

    The condition of the Orpheum Theater, where the orchestra is based, was not clear, but the central business district of New Orleans where it is located was flooded. Yesterday the orchestra management was trying to set up shop in Baton Rouge, the state capital, and was posting information on another Web site, groups.google.com/group/LPO-family. Job offers were posted there, too, including one from a charter school outside Phoenix looking for a music teacher.

    "There's just tons of support out there," said Karen Sanno, a Louisiana Philharmonic violinist who drove for 18 hours to her parents' home in Chicago as Katrina was closing in. "It's really amazing."

    But maybe not surprising. The orchestra world is close-knit, with musicians forming networks as early as music camps, which then solidify through summer festivals, conservatory training and the tramp from orchestra to orchestra over the years.

    "I think everybody is reaching out to those they identify with the most closely," Ms. Sanno added. "They can imagine the situations."

    The McManus site lists scores of offers, including housing and jobs. One poster offered extra harp strings. A violinmaker in Maine offered free repairs or instrument loans. The conductor of a community orchestra in Andover, Mass., offered housing and contacts with Boston-area freelancers.

    A composition software company held out jobs demonstrating its product. A horn-playing couple in Keller, Tex., offered to line up students for wind players. A Brooklyn College faculty member proposed the opportunity of teaching master classes there.

    Daniel L. Baldwin, a composer in Oklahoma, said he did not have much money but could offer a room and the chance of a recital. In a telephone interview, he said he could try to use his connections at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva.

    "I know if it was me down there I would need and want some help," he said.

    Many of those offering housing made it clear that there was space and tolerance for practicing. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra advertised substitute jobs for five violins, a cello and a double bass throughout the season, with the promise that members would put Louisiana Philharmonic musicians up in their homes.

    Other institutions offering work or auditions included the Washington National Opera, Shreveport Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony and Memphis Symphony. By Monday, at least three players already had offers of playing or teaching work.

    "Musicians understand exactly how difficult it is to get even a low-paying job to begin with," Mr. McManus said.

    The Louisiana Philharmonic has a resilience all its own. After the New Orleans Symphony collapsed amid heavy debts, the players in 1991 formed the Louisiana Philharmonic. For several years, they worked for a pittance while paying off the debt. The orchestra had made its way back to health, with a budget of $4 million, about 75 concerts a year and a new music director starting in 2006, Carlos Miguel Prieto.

    It is one of the few professional American orchestras run by the players themselves.

    "It's a very strongly bonded family," Mr. Rosen, the cellist, said.

    But now, like every aspect of life in New Orleans, the Louisiana Philharmonic's future lies in doubt.

    Ken Kussman, the orchestra's operations manager, said it might be possible to set up operation outside the city, possibly at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, La., where the orchestra plays five concerts a year.

    "There is that spirit of wanting to keep it going," said Mr. Kussman, who was staying at a corporate apartment in Texas and planned to leave yesterday for Baton Rouge. "The problem now is the logistics of everything." Speaking of orchestra members, he continued, "At least before they could gather in one room and argue about it."

    "I think it will survive," he added. "I don't know what form it will survive in. We just don't know what New Orleans will be like when this is all over. What will the population be like? How many people will return? It's been a very searing experience."

    * Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
  2. bassame


    Mar 25, 2004
    Brooklyn NY
    From: Joseph Bendel <jabendel@yahoo.com>
    Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2005 12:12:19 -0700 (PDT)
    To: junktojoe@hotmail.com
    Subject: Instrument donations for Katrina--Jazz Foundation of America

    FYI, the Jazz Foundation of America is coordinating
    donations of musical instruments for musicians
    affected by Hurricane Katrina. Anyone interested in
    donating instruments can contact me at this e-mail
    address (I've been working on the database for the

    The Foundation doesn't currently have warehousing
    services, so for now they're asking that donors hold
    their instrument until they can arrange shipment to a
    specific musician.

    If you have cash burning a hole in your pocket, but no
    spare Hammond B-3's in your appartment, the Foundation
    can always use put a financial donation to good use.
    See them on the web at:


    Please forward this to anyone who might be interested.
    Be well,

    Joe Bendel
    Thanks for spreading the word. If anyone's interested
    in donating, send them to me. We now have a secure
    storage location to ship to:

    NOMC Relief
    c/o Brittany Kite
    Grant Street Dance Hall
    113 W. Grant Street
    Lafayette, LA 70501

    Evidently, there are 150 displaced musicians in
    Lafayette. They're planning a benifit concert for
    Fri., if we can scare up enough instruments.