Save Orchestra London or start again?
While a discussion of what is needed to save Orchestra London from its financial difficulties continues, others are saying it's time to let it go and start from scratch.
IATSE Local 105, the union representing technical staff with Orchestra London, has several members who are unpaid and struggling due to cancelled dates.
The union's business agent says a plan is already forming to see orchestral music return to London's Centennial Hall, but with a new organization and new leadership.
Terry Barker says he is part of a group of music insiders considering the formation of a new organization, but only if Orchestra London folds.
That has the union leader making an unusual request of city council, don't advance his employer money to stay afloat.
"It's not time to give them money, it is now time to let it die and start from scratch. You need new leadership, you need a new orchestra."
Barker's vision is still being developed, but it could include rehearsal space at the Western Fair, tickets sold by the Centennial Hall box office and performances resuming as soon as September.
"Myself included we've been in talks with some of the major players with the orchestra, some of the management people with the orchestra."
Uncertain of what city council's decision may be, Joe Swan, executive director of Orchestra London, was in Toronto on Thursday seeking last-minute financial help from provincial and federal agencies.
But in separate statements released Friday, the Ontario Arts Council revealed, "We have no additional or emergency funding available to assist arts organizations in crisis."
And the Canada Council for the Arts said it "is in dialogue with Orchestra London and the Ontario Arts Council and we are assessing the next steps."
But Barker believes focus should begin instead on a new orchestra organization with a leaner, more sustainable business model not burdened by a massive debt.
"Hopefully we can get it together once things have died down, and people do not have the sour taste in their mouth of what happened with the previous management.
The request to advance part of the Orchestra London municipal grant will be in front of city council for a decision on Thursday.
If the orchestra is unable to meet its financial commitments, city hall will be on the hook to make good on a half-a-million dollar line of credit.