Magazine article International Musician

ROPA Today

Magazine article International Musician

ROPA Today

Article excerpt

The purpose of the Regional Orchestra Players' Association (ROPA), as stated in AFM Negotiator Nathan Kahn's article, stands as strongly as it did 25 years ago. Thousands of orchestral musicians across the country owe an incredible amount of gratitude and thanks to Kahn for taking the initiative to create a conference that would offer assistance to regional orchestra musicians. ROPA continues to serve its constituents as a major resource for networking. The annual conference, e-mail lists, and quarterly member-at-large calls keep ROPA musicians connected and informed. The annual ROPA conference hosts training seminars by experts in the field on subjects that include contract negotiations, steward training, and public relations, and breakout discussions cover some of the most pressing issues our industry faces.

Over the years ROPA has assisted orchestra committees, musicians, and their locals confront significant challenges. During the mid '90s, ROPA President emeritus Andy Brandt and the ROPA board published an extensive strike manual. During that time they also successfully collaborated with the AFM, the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), the AFL-CIO, and the League of American Orchestras and other arts advocates to build a coalition to save the National Endowment for the Arts.

Today ROPA is facing one of its largest crises in decades. Discussions of the new economic reality and structural deficits amongst managements have created a wave of cutbacks and restructuring within the orchestral industry. We have witnessed very few public advocacy campaigns to preserve the status of the institution; instead our philanthropic supporters have been presented with symphony program books that disclose negative rhetoric that most certainly would cause hesitation for support. During contract reopeners and negotiations, these messages have served as tools that contradict the spirit of media blackouts. …

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