We’ve been leaked a report, going out tomorrow, which confirms that the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra is ti be abolished under local authority cutbacks. The orchestra, which achieved national (and a measure of international) fame under the long leadership of the late Vernon Handley,
The council, in one of England’s wealthiest commuter belts, will save £190,000 a year ($300,000) from the closure. That may well be justified in these tough times. But the cost to the town is immeasurable. By killing the orchestra it will also lose any pretence to be more than a dormitory town, a place where people go to sleep but not to belong or engage. A proposal to spend £60,000 on other musical activities will not compensate for the loss of an orchestra. It will, we think, be the first orchestra to die under the Cameron-Clegg government.
It is not too late for Guildford to step back from the brink. Write to leading councillor email@example.com to express a view.
Here, as promised, is the leaked doc:
Recommendation to Executive
That the Executive approves:
1. The closure of the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra service (GPO), currently
directly provided by the Council, with effect from 31 March 2013
2. The commissioning of classical music in the borough to an external
organisation(s) on a four year grant funding agreement supported by grant aid of
up to £60,000 per annum from the Council and authorises the appropriate
strategic director to finalise the terms of the agreement in consultation with the
Lead Councillor for Sport, Leisure and Culture
3. The proposal to broaden the provision to include the lunchtime recitals and to
engage young people and children and include world music in addition to western
4. The proposal to establish a panel comprising the lead councillor, Interim Strategic
Director, the external consultants (DCA) and two councillors nominated by the
Corporate Improvement Scrutiny Committee (Councillors Tony Phillips and Nikki
Nelson-Smith) to evaluate the bids for grant funding.
Reasons for Recommendation:
The reasons for recommending the closure of the service and the provision of classical
music via grant aid are that -
1. The current provision is neither efficient nor effective in offering value for money
2. The proposed model is the most advantageous means of securing this provision.