Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra could shut down without donations

HALES CORNERS (WITI) -- The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is in need of millions of dollars to continue putting on performances, and they are asking the public for help.

The MSO performed inside St. Mary's Church in Hales Corners Wednesday evening, December 18th as hundreds enjoyed the music, but the stress of the $5 million needed to continue playing weighed on those involved.

"It takes your breath away when you hear a figure like that," said musician David Taggart.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will be forced to shut down if they don't receive the much-needed donations. The two main dilemmas facing the MSO are a $1 million pension issue and an endowment that isn't large enough to support an orchestra of this size.

Efforts by the organization to thrive are being made, including musicians making concessions, accepting higher health care costs and some retiring early without their positions being replaced.

"This isn't a labor conflict issue. This is labor and management and board working together to make this happen and to help the orchestra survive," said Taggart. "It's an orchestra the community deserves to keep so we hope the people will really step up and do it with us."

There is no hard deadline however the next couple of months will be crucial.  MSO has received 900 donations or pledged donations totalling $700,00 since the beginning of December. The orchestra is hoping after 54 years they won't have to make their final curtain call.