New citizens group announced at locked out concerts

Audiences at this weekends sold out concerts by locked out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra heard about a new citizens group formed to try to break the impasse between the musicians and management.

"Orchestrate Excellence"calls itself a "coalition to support our Minnesota Orchestra."

Organizers of say its only a week old and still getting set up, but the group used the concerts at the Ted Mann Concert Hall as an opportunity of gather names of supporters.

A flyer in the program stated:"The Minnesota Orchestra enriches and inspires our community with a heritage of artistic excellence spanning more than a century. It has made Minnesota synonymous with musical greatness worldwide. We believe that the orchestra plays an important role in Minnesota's rich cultural life and it is possible to fund its musical brilliance going forward. We are concerned citizens who have come together to find ways to assure the high quality of the music that we love."

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Audience members were encouraged to add their name and Email address, and visit the organizations website.

The Sunday concert was an emotional experience as former Minnesota Orchestra music director Edo de Waart tppk the podium to lead the musicians through a program of Bach's Concerto in D Minor for two violins, featuring Concertmaster Erin Keefe and former Concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis standing side by side on stage.

The second part of the concerts opened with a spirited speech from viola player Sam Bergman who told the crowd the musicians were prepared to struggle and sacrifice to preserve the orchestra in the face of the major cuts proposed by management.

The musician were then joined by a chorus of at least 80 voices as well as four soloists to perform Beethoven's 9th.

The performance was met with rapturous approval from the audience which gave the musicians repeated standing ovations.