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Jft2

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Lockhart explained his reaction to the idea:
My initial knee-jerk reaction when Parker first proposed the merger was negative. Change is a pariah in this business. People, including me , tend to cling to existing models. I eventually realized that my main reason for believing it [the merger] was a bad idea was because it was different. I also realized at the time that if I had said no to the idea, the merger would not have gone forward. Parker made it abundantly clear to me that his and the executive committee’s first priority was to retain me. With that in mind, I agreed that we should explore the idea in earnest. Although both Parker and Peterson were committed to the idea of the merger, they were not completely without their reservatio ns. As Peterson explained: “There was no precedent for a merger between a major symphony and an opera working. The Utah Symphony was by far the leading orchestra in the eight Rocky Mountain states and among the 20 leading orchestras in the country.
Utah Opera, on the other hand, was a good region al opera company, but it had not yet reached the status of the symphony.”
In early 2001, Parker and Peterson met with Ewers; William Bailey , chairman of the board at the opera; and Herb Livsey, the incoming chair and board member at the opera, to discuss the possibility of a merger.
Bailey described his initial response to the merger idea:
One concern expressed by opera trustees was th e financial strength of the opera vis-à-vis the symphony. The opera had a reserve fund and was financially stable and because of the business model could be flexible and adjust the size of the opera or eliminate projects that had not reached their fund-raising goal. The sy mphony, on the other hand, was a 52-week orchestra that did not have that flexibility. Another concern was that even though the opera could become a tier-one arts organization through the merger, the opera would lose its
identity.

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