SAN ANTONIO - Dozens of San Antonio musicians and symphony lovers rallied outside the Tobin Center Thursday demanding management come to an agreement over the musicians' contracts, which are set to expire Dec. 31. They say management walked away from the negotiating table Monday after months of stalling.
“I'm extremely frustrated. It seems as though we are always having to make a case with some of our employers for our existence,” said Craig Sorgi, a symphony musician.
They want a fair contract and a higher salary. The average San Antonio Symphony musician makes $33,600 per year, but they say the lack of a substantial endowment has been the heart of financial troubles.
They say San Antonio's endowment is around $2 million. Kansas City Symphony's endowment, in comparison, is more than $100 million.
“With the city booming the way it is, with the economy getting stronger than it's been, there's no excuse for this. We really don't have an answer for why it's such a problem or why the San Antonio Symphony isn't booming along with everything else in San Antonio,” Sorgi said.
Residents also worried about the prospect of the city losing its symphony.
“I think music is a very important part of what the city is about, and it's not just a 30-week symphony season, the orchestra is a part of what makes San Antonio such a special place to live,” said Kenneth Bloom, a resident.
The musicians said they want to make sure that the future of music in the Alamo City is never in jeopardy.
Michael Bernard, a lawyer representing Symphony Management, said it's unlikely they'll reach a resolution by Dec. 31 when the current contract expires. He said the symphony has been losing money for years and has to resolve certain management and financial issues to move forward.