Support Local Musicians

By Pete Vriesenga

Denver Post – Letter to the Editor
Responding to Kyle MacMillan’s
7/13/08 story: Classical music: A fair wage — but those in bigger cities make more

Kyle MacMillan’s story of local musicians struggling for a fair wage uncovers a harsh reality. Music & entertainment are among the largest industries in the world. The Vail Valley Music Festival, for example, is so flush with cash they’re importing FOUR very-pricey orchestras this summer: the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, to satisy the musical palate of this affluent community. Combined costs for salaries and benefits, housing and transportation are astronomical, funded in part by your Colorado Council on the Arts.

But the music industry, like our State history, is a story of boom and bust. The mountain resort of Steamboat Springs is hoping to lure a few of Vail’s musical patrons with a local, Emerald City Opera production of La Traviata in August. Musicians will receive $360 and a room in payment for six rehearsals and two performances. They’ll do good to come home with fifty bucks in their pocket.

Absent from the story is any mention of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities [taxing] District of metro-Denver, which is quite unique to Denver. SCFD raises over $40 million annually for over 300 arts and scientific organizations. SCFD is showcased nationally as a growth model for other cities to emulate, but it offers little hope for the weary. The money goes largely to managment and operational expense while professional musicians, most with advanced college degrees, are typically pre-categorized as “volunteers.”

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.