Newspaper article MinnPost.com

SPCO Musicians Locked Out: 'We Want to Stay Here, and We Want to Play'

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

SPCO Musicians Locked Out: 'We Want to Stay Here, and We Want to Play'

Article excerpt

Part 3 in a series

When the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians' contract ended in September, the orchestra kept "talking and playing," until the musicians were locked out by management in late October. Alicia McQuerrey, 36, an SPCO flutist since 2001, describes what it's been like for her and her young daughter:

October 22 was our lockout date. I'm definitely scared about the financial end of things. I bought a house on the east side of St. Paul in April 2005, and I'm a single parent of a 15-month-old daughter. Her name is Lola. I had Lola using a donor and in vitro because I was getting older and have been single for years now. I'm the only one taking care of her.

With the lockout, I have a lot more time with Lola. When we were working, she was at a wonderful day-care center in downtown St. Paul, and she had just gotten settled in. I had to pull her out to save the money. I love being with her all day, but was sad to take her away from her friends and teachers.

Before the lockout, I told my mom, "I wish I could be with Lola more." I should have clarified: "I'd like to be with Lola more, but still have a job." I didn't go in-depth enough with that wish.

Not playing with other people is hard. All of us are still practicing like we would by ourselves, but it's a really odd transition, going from such in-depth interaction with other great musicians to what I would almost call seclusion. I miss my colleagues like family members. We're together almost every day for many weeks of the year, doing work so personal that you really are bonded together. Wonderful subs can come in and play with us, but it's not the same. With even one person different in our group, we all feel it.

Before the lockout, Mondays were off. That's our weekend - Mondays. Tuesdays we would generally have a rehearsal from 10-1, and sometimes an afternoon rehearsal, too; it depends on the week. …

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