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10 St. Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians take management's retirement deal

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A letter from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's newly re-appointed president Bruce Coppock Tuesday revealed the names of 10 musicians taking a retirement package from orchestra management, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The retirement package, which was offered to SPCO members ages 55 and older, is part of management's contract settlement with the orchestra.

More than half of the SPCO's membership were eligible for the offer. The departing 10 members represent about a third of the orchestra.

Each of the SPCO's retiring members have been with the orchestra for more than 30 seasons. The longest-serving member, oboe player Thomas Tempel, was with the SPCO for 44 seasons.

"Each of these musicians devoted more than 30 years to making great music with the SPCO, and each is beloved by our long-time audience members," Coppock says in the letter. "We are extremely grateful for their their many contributions both in the concert hall and beyond, and we wish them our very best as they begin the next chapters in their lives."

The SPCO ratified a three-year deal at the end of April, about six months after being locked out by management in a contract dispute.

The musicians returned to the stage about two weeks later.

Under the new contract, musicians' base pay has been cut to $15,000, and the size of the SPCO has been reduced from 34 to 28 players.

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