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Baltimore Symphony Musicians perform for thousands despite lockout

Posted at 11:26 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-04 08:58:38-04

COCKEYSVILLE, Md. — The musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra took the stage for the first time since a contract dispute locked them out.

For weeks the only sounds coming from the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall have been the sound of protest from their musicians outside. The mastery of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra was thought to be lost for the summer—until an effort was strung together to keep the show going— at least for a night.

RELATED: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians to be locked out beginning Monday

“Ready to play 'Strings on Fire,' which is very difficult piece, which is the third or second one I think,” said violinist Gary Mulligan.

Mulligan is the Co-Chair of the Players’ Committee. Contract disputes between the musicians and their employers are at a stand still, resulting in a cancellation of their summer concert series.

“We’re very excited to be playing, and we’re lucky enough to be paid for the rehearsal and concert," Mulligan said. "We’re just very grateful to be together and perform for this wonderful audience.”

Kery Hummel is a season ticket holder for the orchestra and said a friend from Texas planner their trip around seeing them perform.

“I had told her about the symphony and that we would go on the Third of July,” said Mulligan. “See the fireworks and hear the symphony, and then it got canceled. I actually was really devastated because this had been a planned evening for us to enjoy.”

Seeing the Baltimore City based Orchestra perform at Oregon Ridge is a historic ‪Fourth of July‬ tradition, a tradition that Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski wasn’t going to see ended Wednesday night.

“As soon as we learned that their summer concert series was canceled and that this wasn’t slated to continue, I directed my team to immediately find a way to make it happen,” Olszewski said.

Putting the musicians back on stage— at least for a night.

"People are still struggling without their paychecks,” Mulligan said. “A lot of people are getting work with other orchestras this summer. Some in Atlanta, some in Chicago, various music festivals across the country. What we really would like to do is be back to work for the Baltimore Symphony.”

They will be at the negotiating table again on July 17. They recently learned that their health care would be continued through August.