Contract negotiations for Springfield Symphony Orchestra could impact downtown businesses

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – While some cities have landed on when their symphony halls will once again be filled with music, it’s still up in the air when the same will be true in Springfield.

Right now, John Anz, the development director and interim executive director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, said they’re working to put together a partial season beginning by the end of the year.

However, Nadim Kashouh, the owner of Nadim’s Downtown Mediterranean Grill said he’s worried about how this could impact business. He said on the nights when the orchestra would play, it could bring in “thousands” of dollars for his business.

And with hundreds able to sit inside Symphony Hall, he worries about what this could mean for other businesses as well.

“The symphony is made stronger by a stronger downtown district we know the businesses are made stronger by a thriving cultural partnership and community,” said Anz. “We do have a season being planned… [show dates are] simply on hold. We do need to reach an agreement.”

Anz said the main thing holding things up is not just contract negotiations with the music director maestro, Kevin Rhodes, it’s an agreement with the Musician’s Union about how long that partial season will run.

“We all want to get back to the stage,” Anz told 22News. “But the Springfield Symphony Orchestra faces specific challenges and that was before COVID. So we need to make sure that we go back to the stage in both a practical way but in a prudent way financially.”

Anz said the current offer on the table for the Union is that partial season. If the union takes that deal, they’ll be able to lock in the dates they currently have penciled in.

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