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Supporters for RPO conductor consider legal action

Posted at: 01/11/2013 8:12 PM
By: Lynette Adams

RPO members upset about the board's decision to terminate conductor Arildt Remmereit's contract say they are ready to take their fight to the next level.

On Thursday night, dozens of supporters including musicians and donors packed into a meeting room at the library to discuss the next step. Some have been calling for board members to resign.

Now the plan may be to come up with an alternative slate of candidates when eight board seats come up for re-election later this month. That may be where this is headed. People say they are not only unhappy with Remmereit's termination.

They lack confidence in the board's ability to lead the RPO. But RPO by laws say candidates for the board have to declare their candidacy by the end of October, but that isn't stopping the campaign for change.

Arildt Remmereit, RPO conductor, said, “The goal must be to have as many community members as possible, actively engaged, connected to and passionate about the RPO so that collectively every Rochesterian can say with pride the RPO is my orchestra.”

For the first time since the RPO announced it was canceling his four year contract, conductor Arildt Remmereit spoke to a crowded room of supporters Thursday night. They gave him a standing ovation and there is now talk of taking this fight to court.

Eileen Buholtz, attorney, said, “We are confident that we can find some room to proceed.”

Eileen Buholtz ran the meeting. She is a RPO member and attorney. On Friday, she said members plan to come up with a new slate of candidates for the eight seats on the board up for reelection January 23. It may require a legal challenge. The deadline has passed for new candidates and the current members are running unopposed. We've done some preliminary research and the results are looking favorable and I have no hesitation to pursuing this to court and asking a judge if that's what we decide we need to do. I have no hesitation at all.”

But the RPO Vice President of Marketing and Communication Mark Berry says the board's decision to terminate Remmereit's contract is final and has the support of most of the members and the community.

Mark Berry, RPO, said, “The vast majority of the board members, the truth is the vast majority of the musicians were in support of this decision and a lot of our donors, a lot of our members are in support of this.. We had a wonderful holiday season. Over 30,000 people came out from the first Nutcracker performance to the last Holiday Pops.”

Buholtz says the group hopes to have a slate of candidates in the coming days. She says even if it is not successful voting in new board members, the group will challenge. The election and make sure to declare candidates by October of this year.

Meanwhile, Berry says the RPO will go on making music. Right now, Remmereit is not

scheduled to conduct the upcoming performances.