With hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, is the 25-year-old Northwest Sinfonietta worth saving?
For Tacoma’s arts administrator Amy McBride, the answer is yes.
“It’s very important to the city,” said McBride, who oversees the city’s arts funding. “Any opportunity for musicians to play in our own backyard is important.
“It’s a Tacoma-based organization we’re exporting to Seattle, Puyallup, even Cuba. It’s very high-quality, and I’m excited they’re mixing it up and taking risks.”
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Christophe Chagnard, the Sinfonietta’s founder and former artistic director, continues to support the chamber orchestra, but notes the challenge facing those dealing with its finances.
“The Sinfonietta needs a second chance,” he said. “But there’s a tremendous amount of housecleaning that has to be done.”
The orchestra’s new model of three partner conductors works for co-concertmaster Brittany Boulding.
“All of us are so completely inspired by the three partners,” she said. “They’ve brought such a new perspective, breathed life into a group used to doing the same thing in the same way.”
“It’s fabulous — the best concerts we’ve ever played,” said Judson Scott, the orchestra’s principal trumpeter.
“Each partner brings a different strength. Eric Jacobsen has incredible energy. … David Lockington is an amazing craftsman, and … to have Joseph Swensen get up there and (play solo while conducting) means everyone’s got to be at their peak.”
“We’re bringing something to this city that would otherwise not exist,” said Wren Buck, president of the Sinfonietta’s board.
Kathryn Habedank, who co-founded the orchestra and co-managed it for a decade, has attended concerts and supported the organization financially since she left.
She expresses what longtime Sinfonietta supporters feel.
“We gave our heart and soul to this orchestra,” she said. “And I feel all of my heart and soul is still with them.”