PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The board of directors of the Philadelphia Orchestra could decide on Saturday whether to file for bankruptcy, and the musicians have been staging quiet protests against the possible move.

Just minutes before their performance on Thursday night, members of the orchestra walked through the Verizon Hall audience to hand out leaflets that stated their case against bankruptcy.

“There’s been no other premiere orchestra that has ever even considered bankruptcy, because of the damage that it would do to the orchestra,” says Dan Fee, a spokesman for the musicians.  “That’s what makes the management and board decision to move forward with this so confounding.”

Fee says that bankruptcy — which could potentially allow orchestra management to get portions of the musicians’ contract invalidated — would make it hard for the orchestra to attract and keep the best musicians and to keep the public confidence.  He says the orchestra should look at other options.

“The musicians have not only offered significant concessions, including wage concessions, but they have also offered to help with fundraising,” he says, “and most of these have just been ignored.”

Thursday night’s concert audience apparently supported the musicians’ position.  As the musicians returned to the stage after handing out their leaflets, the audience erupted into sustained applause.  Many musicians waved their instruments in a show of thanks; one pumped his fist in the air.

The Philadelphia Orchestra Association declined to comment.

Reported by Cherri Gregg, KYW Newsradio 1060

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