Officials with Centennial Hall have confirmed to AM980 that the curtain is coming down on Orchestra London.
Jones Entertainment Group manages Centennial Hall, the venue the Orchestra has called home for decades, and says they were contacted by the group’s management around 12 p.m. Tuesday with the news.
The firm’s Don Jones says Orchestra London Executive Director Joe Swan came into their offices to tell them that after Tuesday (December 16th), they would cease their operations.
“All the dates were requested to be taken out of the book for January through to May and then for next fall and for 2016 as well,” Jones says.
As for what led the orchestra to make this decision, Jones says Swan didn’t say, but it’s more than likely money woes.
“It’s been tough making payrolls every week and they had a big payroll due tomorrow (Wednesday) which they couldn’t make so that was the last straw I think,” Jones says.
“The plug was just basically pulled on it.”
Jones says Swan mentioned perhaps trying to revamp the orchestra in the future, but didn’t offer any other details.
While some community members might be shocked by the news of the Orchestra’s shut down, Jones says he’s not.
“We’ve known this, I’ve known this, for months the way it’s been going. It’s no surprise to me.”
Jones says a Unity Concert planned for Wednesday is still scheduled to proceed as planned, but performances planned for Friday and Saturday are still up in the air.
“I’m sorry for the musicians because they’re in the middle of a bad management situation at the orchestra and I feel sorry for all the people who had the subscriptions because all of their money has been spent from all their concert (tickets) from January to April,” Jones says.
“They’re not going to get any money back. The orchestra sold all their tickets and they spent all the money before the shows happened so all these people are out of their money.”
According to Orchestra London’s website, the organization was founded in 1937. Jones says the group has called Centennial Hall home since it was unveiled in 1967.
AM980’s calls to Orchestra London representatives on Tuesday evening were not returned.
The Orchestra gets $500,000 dollars from the city each year, and Mayor Matt Brown hopes to get an update on the situation from city staff next week.
Featured image sourced from Orchestra London Canada’s Facebook page