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KW Symphony says Friday it needs $2 million to avoid bankruptcy

KW Symphony says Friday it needs  million to avoid bankruptcy

Nearly three days after the symphony orchestra abruptly canceled its upcoming season, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony has broken its silence on the financial problems that it says made the decision necessary.

The symphony orchestra said in a press release Tuesday that it needs about $2 million to restructure and continue operations into the future.

On Wednesday, the company made it clear that it needs the money by Friday to avoid bankruptcy.

“The future is uncertain right now,” Heather Galt, former president of the symphony orchestra, said in the organization’s first interview with CTV News since the cancellation.

“We are reaching out to all the stakeholders we have spoken to over the last few months to let them know that our situation has gone from dire to desperate. We have no long runway left. We are now digging into our credit line every day that passes and we cannot continue to do so.”

On Saturday night, the symphony orchestra sent an email to the 50 musicians it employs, telling them it had canceled its upcoming season. The musicians would return to work the following day.

On Sunday night, it informed ticket holders that all upcoming performances had been cancelled and that it would not be issuing refunds. Instead, previously purchased tickets would be eligible for a tax receipt, it said.

People who paid tuition fees as members of the youth orchestra also did not get their money back.

The move sparked anger among ticket buyers, with some saying they are now out hundreds of dollars.

Galt said Tuesday that she understands the public’s frustration, but that the symphony simply doesn’t have enough money to pay them back.

She said all the money raised has already been spent to get the symphony orchestra through the summer.

“I can’t tell you how terrible we feel,” Galt said. “I wish we had another option, but unfortunately we don’t.”

Regarding the sudden announcement, Galt said the symphony was looking for the additional funding it needed to get through the season.

“And unfortunately, we got some responses to the funding requests that we submitted in the very last few days before the season started. And that was the trigger for the final decision that we had to make,” she said.

Musicians who spoke to CTV News said they were frustrated by the lack of communication and that management would wait until the last minute before pulling the plug.

“Winning one of these jobs is what we think is a safe position,” said cellist Kendra Grittani. “I think it just goes to show that it’s not always a safe position.”

Grittani said if the musicians had known how bad the situation was, they could have helped.

“One, two years in advance, maybe at least six months in advance, to let us know, ‘We need to raise x amount of money to save this organization,’ and then the community and the orchestra come together and save the orchestra,” Grittani said. “We didn’t get that opportunity.”

On Tuesday night, the musicians of the KW Symphony launched a GoFundMe. In 15 hours, they have raised over $92,000.