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Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Full Percussion Section Quits

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In the latest twist in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra strike, the full percussion section has announced their departure. The news comes as the DSO remains locked in a protracted labor dispute that has brought the cancellation of the remainder of the current season and uncertain plans for the future.

"It is with a heavy heart that the Musicians of the Detroit Symphony announce the departure of our entire percussion section," the DSO announced on a Web site the company musicians maintain, in which they explore the broader issues of the strike. "Our valued colleagues are saying 'Good-bye' as they leave Detroit to continue their professional careers elsewhere."

The departing members are principal percussionist Jacob Nissly, principal timpanist Brian Jones, and Ian Ding, the assistant principal percussionist. The company's fourth percussionist seat of assistant principal timpani and percussion has remained vacant since 2009.

The site notes, "The DSO has gone from having one of the longest intact serving percussion sections in orchestra history (40 plus years) to one of the shortest, in one fell swoop," and adds, "Losing a complete section like this speaks volumes about the DSO leadership's plans for the future."

In another recent development, the Max Fisher Center, home of the DSO, lost its fifth concert in five months last week with Bobby McFerrin's cancelation.

"The tighter management squeezes, the more sand slips through their fingers as entertainers from around the world refuse to play at the Max,” Gordon Stump, president of the Detroit Federation of Musicians, is quoted as saying in the most recent press release from the DSO musicians. “The DSO’s new business model dream of competing with the Fox, Music Hall, as a premier entertainment venue in Detroit will remain a dream deferred until this strike is settled."