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Utica Symphony can’t afford to play; conductor resigns

(Cassaundra Baber, Utica Observer-Dispatch) Debt, staff cuts and the resignation of longtime conductor Chuck Schneider have silenced the Utica Symphony Orchestra in its 100th year.

When programming, funding and staffing will be replenished depends on how long it takes the symphony’s board to raise the more than $100,000 debt needed to pay musicians and Schneider for last season’s work, said Loretta Massoud Romano, a board member for six years and current advisory board member.

“Every symphony in the country is having this problem,” Romano said, pointing to a downturned economy as molding its woes.

The symphony’s most recent budget of about $300,000 was sliced by one-third due to state and federal cuts. Additionally, a significant donation the group expected to use to fund its 2010-2011 season did not come through, Romano said.