Charlotte Symphony Receives Two Individual $1 Million Contributions – Contributions from McColls and Spanglers will support operating expenses while Symphony rebuilds

September 15, 2009, Charlotte, NC: The Charlotte Symphony (CSO) announced today that it has received two separate contributions of $1 million each from donors Hugh and Jane McColl and the Spangler family through the C.D. Spangler Foundation, Inc.
These contributions, along with a recent $500,000 challenge grant by an anonymous donor and an additional $500,000 in giving from the CSO Board, become the leading contributions to the Symphony’s multi-year “bridge funding” initiative. As the Symphony restructures its financial operations and builds an endowment over the next six years, this additional operating support – over and above its regular annual contributed income – is required to maintain balanced budgets.
The “gap” or “bridge” funding necessary to offset the deficit is projected to be $1.75 million for this fiscal year, gradually decreasing each year over the next five years for a total of $5.6 million over six years. At the end of this six-year period, the increased revenue resulting from business improvements and a substantially larger endowment is designed to produce and maintain balanced fiscal operations for the Symphony.
“We are so profoundly grateful for the generosity and faith that the McColls and the Spanglers have shown to the Charlotte Symphony,” said CSO Board Chair Pat Rodgers. “The rebuilding of the Symphony will be accomplished over time and requires an ongoing commitment to fiscal responsibility and effective fundraising. These extraordinary contributions to the Symphony’s bridge fund demonstrate confidence in the long-term plan to put the Symphony on sound financial footing.”
“The Charlotte Symphony is the sound of the city”, said Jane McColl. “It is our hope that everyone works together to support this important institution for our region.”
The Charlotte Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in the Charlotte region and operates on a $7.6 million budget. It employs more than 100 professional musicians, 63 on full-time contracts, and is governed by a 40-member Board of Directors. The Charlotte Symphony also operates the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras and the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte.
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(With thanks to the CSO for this press release.)


New Contract for CSO Musicians – Four-year Agreement Reduces Symphony Expenses

September 4, 2009, Charlotte, NC: The Charlotte Symphony Board of Directors and musicians of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (CSO), Local No. 342 of the American Federation of Musicians have agreed to a new four-year contract, effective this season. The terms of the new contract replace those of the former contract, which would have expired on August 31, 2010.
The terms of the new contract include a reduction in paid working weeks this season, from 38 to 33, with 35 paid working weeks in 2010-2011, 36 weeks for the 2011-2012 season, and 37 weeks for the 2012-2013 season. These reductions represent a savings of $1.2 million to the Symphony in the first two years of the new contract.
“I am grateful to the musicians who, by ratifying this contract, have once again demonstrated their willingness to be partners in addressing the financial challenges of the Symphony,” said Executive Director Jonathan Martin. “Through the decrease in wages, they are effectively donating $700,000 back to the Symphony in the form of savings in just this year alone.”
In March of 2007, the musicians also agreed to a renegotiated contract that resulted in substantial savings to the organization.
The new contract is a critical component of the multi-year restructuring plan implemented by the Symphony to stabilize its financial operations. Other measures include freezes and reductions in administrative salaries and an intensive multi-million-dollar fundraising initiative.
“Over the past several months, the Charlotte Symphony has worked diligently to establish a viable business plan, by both cutting expenses and increasing funding,” said CSO Board Chair Pat Rodgers. ”The board has committed more than $800,000 in new donations to the Symphony in the past six months, and contributed income from the community continues to grow. The new contract, along with substantial reductions in administrative costs, is a key factor in creating financial stability, and I deeply appreciate the musicians’ generosity. The Symphony family – musicians, board, and staff – will continue to work together to build a fiscally sound organization to serve the Charlotte region.”
(With thanks to the CSO for this press release.)


Composer J. Mark Scearce Awarded the Sackler Prize for 2009
Raleigh, NC: Composer J. Mark Scearce, Director of the Music Department at NC State, has been awarded the 2009 International Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Music Composition. The purpose of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize is to provide financial support for the creation of new musical works as a part of the mission of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut, promoting innovation, inventiveness, and the creative spirit.
The international Sackler Prize in Composition offers substantial recognition including performances, recordings, and a prize of $20,000. The 2009 Prize commissions a work for Cello and Orchestra, to be premiered in March 2011.
Dr. J. Mark Scearce is Director of the Music Department at NC State. Prior appointments were on the music faculties of the Universities of Hawaii, North Texas, and Southern Maine, among others. With fifty active titles in his catalogue, including musical settings of more than 120 texts, Scearce’s many works for orchestra, band, chorus, opera, chamber, and ballet have been performed throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific.
The recipient of five advanced degrees in music, philosophy and religion, including the doctorate in composition from Indiana University, Scearce has now won six international music competitions, his music honored by the Wellesley Composers’ Conference, the June in Buffalo Festival, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the American Music Center, and the artist colonies of Yaddo, Ucross, and MacDowell.
His wide-ranging interests have led him to compose works inspired by contemporary issues and spiritual concerns. This Thread, a setting of Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison’s poem “The Dead of September 11,” was premiered by Orchestra Nashville in 2004, and Gaea’s Lament for solo cello was heard at a symposium on global climate change in 2007. Like other philosopher-artists before him, Scearce makes us think with his music, but more importantly feel.
Scearce currently has seven works commercially available on compact disc on the Albany, Delos, Warner Bros, Capstone, Centaur, and Equilibrium labels, and on a Sony 4-channel SACD online at
The Sackler name is well known in philanthropic circles with schools, museums, institutes, and prizes bearing their name; named galleries in the Smithsonian in Washington and in the Metropolitan in New York are two notable examples. In addition to the Sackler Prize in Music Composition, Raymond and Beverly Sackler endow international prizes in Chemistry and Biophysics. Scearce is the first NC State faculty to win a Sackler Prize in any category.
(Thanks to NCSU for this press release. For more information and for a photograph, see

TGMC to Appear at NC American Choral Directors Association Conference & To Be Featured in Compilation CD
August 20, 2009, RTP, NC: The Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus (TGMC) will perform at the North Carolina Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), September 19, 2009, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Music. TGMC Artistic Director and Conductor John Philip Mullinax describes the invitation as “A huge honor for TGMC. High school, college, and community choruses from all over the state submit recordings to be selected for this event. Musicians from all over the state attend this event. It is a very critical audience. I am very excited that TGMC has demonstrated the level of musicianship and skill to be asked to perform at this conference. This is the first time TGMC has ever applied to perform for ACDA, and to be accepted on our first application is truly an honor.”
Founded in 1959, the ACDA is a nonprofit music-education organization whose central purpose is to promote excellence in choral music through performance, composition, publication, research, and teaching. ACDA membership consists of choral directors who represent more than one million singers across the United States.
The Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus (TGMC) and 28 other choruses from across the country have been selected to be featured on the “Festival Memories” CD, produced by GALA Choruses International. Out of 134 choruses from all over the world that participated in the GALA Choruses International Festival in Miami in July 2008, TGMC has been selected alongside the renowned Turtle Creek Chorale, Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, and New York City Gay Men’s Chorus to “Admirably reflect the quality and powerful diversity of music performed at Festival 2008.”
TGMC’s performance of “When I Hear Music” was part of a 30 minute set performed at the Festival, and a GALA Choruses selection committee has chosen to include the performance on their CD commemorating the Festival.
GALA Choruses International is the leading association committed to serving the GLBT choral movement in the US and abroad, with over 150 member choruses and 7,500 singers. For more information, visit