Orchestra shows canceled, ticket holders haven't gotten refunds

A touring orchestra scheduled to perform in Milwaukee canceled its performances unexpectedly. Now, ticket holders are asking whether they were scammed – or whether they’ll get their money back.

Last year, music fans heard the familiar refrain of "Forgot about Dre" performed by a symphony inside the Blackbox Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina. Contact 6 found videos from the show on YouTube.

It’s a show Michelle Kangas looked forward to seeing in person at The Clybourn in Milwaukee.

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"Everything seemed very legit," said Kangas. "I like orchestra music, so I’m like, ‘This sounds neat.’"

Kangas said she spotted an ad for the alternative orchestra show on Facebook. She spent $80 on two tickets at TicketTailor.com. She arrived at the show on May 4 to find the venue doors closed.

"There’s a lock on the door and a sign on the door saying that the event has been canceled," said Kangas.

Claiborne Green, the co-owner of The Clybourn, which is primarily a wedding venue, posted a sign that read: "Alternative Symphony was cancelled and we have no idea how to contact anyone as everything was disconnected…we believe this was a scam."

Green said he hadn’t worked with the event’s promoter, ARB Marketing & Entertainment, before the event. He said the materials provided for a "Live Orchestral Rendition of Dr. Dre 2001" were professional. He also spoke with the event manager face-to-face over Zoom.

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Green said the orchestra booked five shows to perform Dr. Dre’s music at The Clybourn.

"We don’t have anything to do with the company with the exception of giving them the space," said Green. "Everything looked fully documented."

Green gave Contact 6 a copy of an email he got from the company one month before the shows. It said the promoter was canceling and shutting down operations.

"They were going into bankruptcy," said Green.

The email read: "Sadly we had some internal issues which have lead to these cancelations. We’ll be closing ARB operations and appointing the relevant liquidators to help us with this…We’ll be informing all customers today and starting the refund process…If anybody contacts you please let them know it’ll take 30 days for a refund."

Kangas said she hasn’t received a refund from the company.

"I was just kind of floored," said Kangas.

Contact 6 spoke with representatives of two other U.S. venues which confirmed the alternative orchestra promoted by ARB performed Dr. Dre’s music on their stages last year. One wrote: "It nearly sold out and we received positive feedback."

Green said the tour was supposed to stop in more than 30 cities.

"There was a list of all the cities and all the venues," said Green. "Maybe they did go out of business."

Contact 6 reached out to Ticket Tailor for more information, but was told to try the event organizer instead. The consumer segment emailed ARB Marketing & Entertainment twice but heard nothing back. ARB’s websites do not work.

As for Kangas, she’s about to miss out on a second show; she bought tickets to the same promoter’s orchestra performance of Biggie vs. Tupac at The Clybourn in June.

"I don’t know what happened to this orchestra either," said Kangas. "I’d like my money back, definitely."

Green said The Clybourn missed out on the opportunity to book weddings on the dates of the orchestra’s shows.

There is more than one traveling orchestra that performs Dr. Dre’s music. At least one of those tours has a different promoter and will continue this year.