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Lochlannach Phil Lockout Jump-Started By Kickstarter

Local musicians upstage the Lochlannach Philharmonic by releasing their own recording.
Local musicians upstage the Lochlannach Philharmonic by releasing their own recording.

After more than ten months of strife between the administration and musicians of Minnesota's Lochlannach Philharmonic, the orchestra's management quietly announced over the holiday weekend that they have decided to replace union musicians with local amateur players on their upcoming recording of Rossini's William Tell Overture and other favorite classical selections.

"This marks the beginning of an innovative and exciting new era in our history," said board chairman and CEO George F.X. Drummond. "We believe that this initiative takes audience engagement to a new level. What better way to say 'this is Lochlannach' by having our own citizens play such great music?"

Swanson added that he and his colleagues believe strongly that it will be easier to raise funds for the recording on Kickstarter with so many locals involved in the project. The group plans to make their recording available via digital download only, since they forecast that no one buys CDs anymore anyway. Some cassettes will be dubbed exclusively for board members.

"I mean, I hate those giftwrap fundraisers my kids are always bringing home from school," Swanson noted to NPR. "This is a little something different. Mary, who plays the French horn, says that she can ask her knitting group to kick in 30 bucks. Little Lorraine, our principal violist, has promised me personally that the moms in her Girl Scout troop will help out a bit. And we've got this great guy named John who plays piccolo when he isn't working as a barista. He says he'll make some custom high-art paintings for any Kickstarter supporters who pledge more than $10,000."

Lochlannach Phil officials offered NPR Music an exclusive 30-second sample of their revamped group, captured at a recent rehearsal. They hope to have the album ready for delivery by April 1, 2014.

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Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
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