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Minn. Orchestra supporters gather to offer solutions to lockout

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Orchestra supporters gathered in Mpls.
An estimated 600 Minnesota Orchestra supporters gathered in Minneapolis Tuesday evening to brainstorm possible solutions for the organization's musicians lockout.
MPR Photo/Euan Kerr

Some 600 people gathered in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday night to discuss possible solutions to resolve the ongoing Minnesota Orchestra lockout. 

Participants in the public forum — organized by the citizens group Orchestrate Excellence — said that, as audience members, they have felt excluded from the 11-month dispute. Tuesday's gathering, organizers said, exceeded expectations. 

Laurie Greeno, an Orchestrate Excellence co-chair, said the group will deliver the results of their brainstorming sessions to the Minnesota Orchestra's board of directors and musicians in the coming days.   "We are really hopeful that they will take this as a sign or as an additional impetus to get to the table and resolve this crisis within the next two weeks," she said.

Suggestions for resolving the orchestra's woes ranged from gathering individuals' pledges to raising money for specific sections of the orchestra to demanding that state legislators step in to resolve the dispute. 

Aspen Music Festival director Alan Fletcher, who spoke at the meeting, said he hopes the event will grab the attention of lawmakers.    "Maybe a gathering this size and with this much commitment will make political people sit up and take notice and say, 'OK, we cannot sit this out. That's just not a choice,'" he said.

Supporters say they are increasingly worried about the future of the orchestra, as music director Osmo Vanska says he'll resign if the orchestra has not rehearsed by Sept. 9.