Should the symphony fold, it could affect next month's American Ballet Theatre concerts, which are co-sponsored by the symphony and the San Diego Arts Foundation. "We've just about sold out the Saturday-night concert," said the foundation's director, Suzanne Townsend. If the symphony is no longer in existence, the foundation will have to pay for the musicians as well as the dancers, a total budget of $500,000.
Members of the board of directors attended the Thursday-morning rehearsal and presented the orchestra members with their plan. They requested that the players continue to play the concerts set for the next two weeks "to show San Diego what a dynamite orchestra you are," a board member said. "Their response was amazing. (Music director) David Atherton said that they didn't have to play, but that he was going ahead with the rehearsal. They all stayed."
Merryman said the orchestra's management could "make a good case that they could operate successfully, starting with zero deficit," if the $2 million is raised.
Once news of the impending demise got out, the "telephones began ringing off the hook," a staffer at the symphony's offices said.
"The community response has been amazing," spokeswoman Nancy Hafner said. "People have been calling asking for our address, and creditors have called, saying, 'Put my name at the bottom of the billing list.' Tickets for this week's concerts are selling full speed."
Hafner said a 2 1/2-hour fund-raising radiothon will be broadcast at 4:30 p.m. on KFSD-FM (94.1), after Sunday's live symphony concert broadcast. Atherton will try to raise funds through public appearances, such as co-hosting the 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. "morning drive" segment today on KJOY-FM (104). Telephone solicitations to the public will be made throughout the next 11 days.
In addition, next week's concert programming has been changed. Composer Jacob Druckman will not conduct his "Auriole."
"Since we are not paying any bills, we gave (him) the option of backing out of the concert," Hafner said. An all-Beethoven concert will replace the originally scheduled program. Symphony No. 5 ("V for victory," Hafner said.) will be included in the program.