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Update: This story has changed. The store will not close.
Another Borders bookstore in Louisville is closing as the chain reorganizes its finances under Chapter 11.
Earlier, Borders planned to close two of the four Louisville stores—one on 4th Street Live and another on South Hurstborne. Now, the Shelbyville Road Plaza store is closing (via), leaving one remaining Borders in Louisville, on Bardstown Road.
Most stories about the Louisville Orchestra’s Chapter 11 filing mention the problems other orchestras are facing. The LO is struggling to make another payroll, and the Courier-Journal has a rundown of what other ensembles have done in similar situations.
The Louisville Orchestra musicians sent out information this week about Keep Louisville Symphonic, which they describe as a “citizen-led effort to support its orchestral future.”
The orchestra has filed for Chapter 11. Last month, a judge ruled that the musicians must be paid. That also means that as long as the musicians are paid, they will play their regularly scheduled concerts.
But there’s more. Keep Louisville Symphonic will launch with a concert on the 29th of this month at Ballard High School. Former Louisville Orchestra artistic director Uriel Segal will return to lead the performance. Tickets are free, but donations to Keep Louisville Symphonic are encouraged.
Here’s more, from the musicians:
Tichenor said that the Keep Louisville Symphonic organization, which had its first organizational meeting and has had a tax-exempt status transferred from a pre-existing group, is an audience-centered organization. Its mission is to activate the collective energies of the Louisville community to preserve, protect and extend the inspiring and enlightening capacities of symphonic music for the city. In addition to what Tichenor envisions as once-a-month public concerts, the musicians have also committed to be involved in a grass-roots fundraising campaign to obtain additional donations to support the city’s orchestral arts.
“I’ve just heard the terrible news, please don’t shut down the Louisville Orchestra,” beseeched one Keegan Taylor. “PLEASE! I beg you!”
One of her classmates, Hanna White, had similar sentiments.
“I’m terribly sad that we might not get to take our filed trip to the louisville orchestra [sic],” she said. To make sure her point wasn’t lost on the reader — Judge David Stosberg, the bankruptcy official assigned to the case — White added in a hand-drawn little girl with the words “I would Love [sic] to go to the lousiville orchestra [sic]” ballooning out of her mouth.
Benjamin G. Morley also pleaded with the judge to try to turn the case around, saying that he had heard the orchestra might have to shut down.
“If it does I will be devestated. [sic] Plese [sic] reconsider so we can go,” he said, signing the letter “your best friend” and peppering his plea with ample exclamation points, capital letters and underlined phrases.
Our sources indicate the letters were not carried into the court in large mail sacks by letter carriers. Further, the letters were not dumped out in the court, and no letter carrier said, “One thousand letters to the Orchestra.”
The Louisville Orchestra has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The organization is about 500 thousand dollars in debt and will not be able to meet its payroll for musicians beyond December 15th. Further, orchestra CEO Rob Birman says the ensemble must emerge from bankruptcy with a 5.75 million dollar annual budget. Its current budget is 6.9 million dollars.
The reorganization plan is due April 4th. Birman says he and other administrators will work with the court and musicians union to find a sustainable plan. He says that may include reducing the number of contracted musicians from 71 members to 55.
“You have a core of musicians that are supplemented by extra players as needed. That’s a very common model. What we’re seeking is nothing different than trying to be within the average of those orchestras in our budget class from across the country.”
Birman says the staff reduction has already been discussed. In the meantime, the administration has asked the court to grant a four-month break from paying musicians starting on the 15th in order to continue day-to-day operations. The musicians would not have to work during that time.
The performances of the Nutcracker that fall after the 15th will be set to recorded music. And unless an agreement between players and administrators is reached, the remainder of the orchestra’s season will not continue next year. But Birman says the bankruptcy declaration is not meant to intimidate the musicians.
“We’ve been very clear since July that if we can’t find an agreement, there will come a time where our resources will be depleted,” he says. “Bankruptcy isn’t a tactic, it’s a necessity in this case simply because the resources are running out.”
Kim Tichenor, the head of the Louisville Orchestra’s musicians committee says the bankruptcy filing was unnecessary. She says the musicians proposed new ways to raise money and bring the ensemble back to solvency, but they were rejected by the administration.
“Unfortunately, our management refused to fundraise until we had taken pay cuts,” she says. “It seems a very backwards strategy to me.”
Tichenor says an orchestra with 55 contracted players would not be successful.
The full interview with Birman and board of directors president Chuck Maisch: