Back To Work, Detroit Symphony Strikes Up The Band

After a bitter, six-month strike by members of the Detroit Symphony, an agreement was ratified and concertgoers flocked to a free concert Saturday. Host Liane Hansen reports that another capacity crowd is expected at a performance Sunday.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

The strike by musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is over. Disputes over pay and scheduling had meant the cancellation of all winter and spring concerts. But after taking a nearly 23 percent pay cut, the players ratified a contract on Friday. And for the first time in six months, the orchestra finally took to the stage, yesterday.

(Soundbite of orchestra tuning up)

HANSEN: And performed for a solidly packed house.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: Leonard Slatkin, the music director, addressed the audience, thanking them for sticking by the orchestra.

Mr. LEONARD SLATKIN (Music Director, Detroit Symphony Orchestra): It has been the longest six months - one which we regret, and one which we are trying very hard to put behind us, and to move forward. This evening is about celebration. It's about all of you, and all the members on the stage and all those behind the scenes, who made it possible for us to be back here tonight.

HANSEN: For their part, concertgoers seemed thrilled to be back. As the orchestra appeared on stage for the first time, the crowd rose to give them a standing ovation before the music even began.

(Soundbite of applause and cheering)

HANSEN: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra performs again today, to another full house. The concert will be streamed live over its website, starting at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: You're listening to NPR News.

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