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Guild bid to benefit area musicians 

The Colorado Springs Symphony Guild announced Saturday that it has bought the music library of the now-defunct Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra for $101,000 at an auction held last week in Denver. The purchase, said Guild board member Jane Beeder, was made possible by a large grant from the CSSO Foundation.

The Guild also announced that it would donate the library to Colorado College, which will house the library and make it available to orchestras in the Colorado Springs community, including the newly formed Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

"We're delighted to be able to participate in keeping the music here," said Michael Grace, chairman of the music department at CC. "I love symphonic music and I think it's one of the most important attractions in Colorado Springs."

Grace said the college would make the music available to local orchestras within the next few weeks for a nominal administrative fee that will pay for the college to hire a new music librarian.

After a brief and heated labor dispute this past January, the 75-year-old CSSO filed for bankruptcy. All of its remaining assets -- including office equipment, some musical instruments and the music library -- were put up for auction to repay creditors.

Alan Isaacson, spokesman for Colorado Springs Philharmonic, also bid on the music, but stopped at $100,000. Isaacson had hoped the library would have been acquired for the exclusive use of the Philharmonic and its musicians, most of whom played for the CSSO.

"Ultimately the music is going to be destroyed if it's used by amateur groups, and that's just our position," said Isaacson.

Michael Grace said that CC was approached by the Guild before the Philharmonic had officially formed in March and had agreed to accept the donation in the interest of keeping the library in the community. But he also indicated that the lack of communication between all parties involved was regrettable.

Meanwhile, CSP executive director Susan Greene announced that fund-raising for the Philharmonic's 2003-2004 season is ahead of schedule.

"We're more than a third of the way to our fund-raising goal," said Greene, referring to the $650,000 goal the Philharmonic hopes to reach by Oct. 30. If they meet that goal, the organization will qualify for $325,000 in a 2-to-1 matching grant from a consortium of local foundations.

The inaugural season of the Philharmonic will feature: collaborations with Opera Theatre of the Rockies and Colorado Springs Chorale; pianist William Wolfram performing the music of Tchaikovsky; and pops concerts with audience favorites. The season will also include the traditional Thanksgiving weekend performance of "The Nutcracker" ballet.

-- Noel Black

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