SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) hit a high note recently when it saw attendance at concerts soar for the 2010-11 season. Classical music lovers flocked to Music Hall in droves to hear the final concerts overseen by departing conductor Paavo Jarvi. Average attendance increased by 11.5 percent over the previous season, and there were five sold-out or almost sold-out performances. In one instance, the CSO had to rely on extra, temporary seating so it could fit a record-breaking crowd of 3,467 people. In fact, attendance figures were the best they had been in five years. Overall, average attendance for the season was 1,752 and total attendance was 81,059. As many symphonies across the nation face financial difficulties and some file for bankruptcy, it’s heartening to see Cincinnati continue its proud heritage of supporting the arts. Bravo.
WESTERN & SOUTHERN: Here’s a perfect example of a sore loser. In what can only be deemed as flagrant corporate bullying, Western & Southern Financial Group filed a lawsuit May 27 against the city, the Family Living Center and the owner of the Anna Louise Inn in an attempt to stop a $12.4 million renovation of the facility.
The action comes after City Council voted in January to reject a request from Western & Southern that sought to block federal funding for the battered women’s shelter on Lytle Street downtown. The company was eyeing the property, located near its corporate headquarters, to develop upscale condos. Now the corporate behemoth is alleging council approved the renovation without ensuring the shelter complied with all zoning and licensing laws. That’s funny, because the facility has operated there since 1909. Western & Southern should quit throwing its money around in a lame effort to intimidate people.
JOHN WILLIAMS: No, we’re not referring to the award-winning composer of music for films like Star Wars and Superman. We mean the local Republican who’s embroiled in a disputed election for Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge with Democrat Tracie Hunter. County commissioners last week appointed Williams as interim Clerk of Courts. He previously served as deputy clerk under Patricia Clancy, who is leaving to deal with family medical issues. Williams won the November election against Hunter by 23 votes but Hunter has sued, alleging some provisional ballots were discarded because some people were told to vote in the wrong precinct by poll workers. With a July 18 hearing set on Hunter’s suit, Williams’ latest appointment seems to be a tacit admission by the local GOP that he will lose the judicial race and needs a new gig. Buck up, John: There are always future elections and other opportunities.
CITY GOSPEL MISSION: The mission, which provides shelter and programs for homeless and addicted men and women, was selected last week as a winner in Toyota’s “100 Cars for Good” program. The local facility will receive a new Toyota Sienna free of charge, which will help in carrying out its daily duties. Toyota’s program is a major philanthropic initiative from the automaker that is awarding 100 cars to 100 U.S. nonprofit agencies over the course of 100 days. City Gospel Mission was selected as one of 500 finalists from thousands of applications nationwide and picked as a winner through a public vote on Facebook. City Gospel Mission was founded in 1924 by James N. Gamble, of the Procter & Gamble Co., as a way to serve at-risk men and women through meals, shelter, recovery programs and chapel services.