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CSO budget, Josephine Humphreys, Shackles

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CSO's budget chop?

While no formal announcements or firm decisions have been made, it was reported over the weekend that the Charleston Symphony's executive board plans to chop $500,000 from next season's $2.9 million budget. It's been speculated that if the board gets its way, 10 or more of the CSO's 46 core musicians stand to lose their jobs. Lesser consequences have yet to be sorted out as well. On Monday, Executive Director Jan Newcomb advised that "everything's still on the table." On top of that, if the CSO is to finish the current season, musicians may have to accept fractional pay, based on available cash — and the money could run out as soon as mid-March. The welcome but shallow well of contributions that got them to the new year is rapidly running dry — and the Damoclean specter of chapter 11 bankruptcy looms if ongoing negotiations with their musicians' union fail.

But the musicians, while painfully aware of the cash crunch, don't intend to submit meekly — especially if they are forced into thinning their ranks. Several prominent players have suggested alternative measures — like attracting new listeners and new revenue via more concerts in new venues. Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker, in a chance encounter on Sunday, echoed their collective determination to find ways to "keep all of us working." —Lindsay Koob

Josephine Humphreys reads at Ashley Hall

The award-winning novelist gives a reading at her alma mater on Mon. Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Her appearance is part of the school's writer's series. Humphreys is the author of four acclaimed novels: Dreams of Sleep, which won the PEN/Hemingway award for best first novel; Rich in Love, which was a New York Times notable book of the year; The Fireman's Fair, also among NYT's notables; and Nowhere Else on Earth, winner of the Southern Book Award. Her teacher was Reynolds Price. Humphreys currently teaches at Davidson College. The reading is free and open to the public. —John Stoehr

Wentworth's Shackles

Marjory Heath Wentworth, the poet laureate of South Carolina, will publish a new children's book called Shackles. It is illustrated by Leslie Darwin Pratt-Thomas. Two boys find a buried set of rusty shackles in their backyard. An old African-American man is called on to explain Sullivan's Island's slavery past to the youngsters. Wentworth is set for a local book tour. You can find more at www.legacypublications.com. —John Stoehr

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