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Citizens brainstorm solutions for end of Minnesota Orchestra lockout

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A large group of citizens supporting the locked-out Minnesota Orchestra assembled in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday night to brainstorm solutions to end the 11 month-long labor dispute, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The forum, which was organized by the citizens group Orchestrate Excellence, attracted about 600 people, MPR says.

The Star Tribune pegged the attendance at about 400 for the meeting, which was held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church across from Orchestra Hall.

Orchestrate Excellence co-chair Laurie Greeno told MPR that the group will deliver results of the meeting to the orchestra's board of directors and musicians, and that they're hopeful the parties will "take this as a sign or as an additional impetus to get to the table and resolve this crisis within the next two weeks."

The keynote speaker at the meeting was Aspen Music Festival director Alan Fletcher, who hopes the meeting will spur lawmakers to get involved and say, 'OK, we cannot sit this out. That's just not a choice."

Among other possible solutions discussed, the Star Tribune reports, was higher ticket prices, and the community and musician representation on the orchestra's board of directors.

The meeting comes as the deadline looms for the threatened departure of orchestra conductor Osmo Vänskä, who said in May that he would leave his post Sept. 9 if the orchestra loses a prestigious Nov. 3 engagement at New York’s Carnegie Hall because of the lockout.

Meanwhile, MPR reports, the lockout has caused the postponement of a recording session with the Swedish company BIS because the lockout has left the musicians unprepared.

The lockout thusfar has caused the cancellation of the orchestra’s entire 2013-2014 season and proposed shortened summer season.

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell has also been serving as a mediator in contract dispute, which has resulted in proposals between the parties but no solutions.

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