I was Force Majeured. My friends were angry. So they donated their tickets ($450) to Michael Broder.
On March 18th, I lost my last gig of the season to Force Majeure. Four months erased from the calendar.
I received a polite, heartfelt email from the executive director who, although he could not pay me my soloist fee, offered to reimburse my travel expenses. I deposited the $95 and moved on.
My family friends in Vancouver, over a dozen who bought tickets to the show, were angry. They forwarded me a request from the presenter to donate their tickets back to the organization. My friends asked what else could be done:
"We don't want to support the organization that didn't pay you", one said in a mass email. "What should we do? Should we send the refund to a relief organization?"
I responded as follows:
"I understand that you may want to donate the tickets towards a different organization or relief fund.
However, many of the arts funds I know are overwhelmed with requests and do not have the staffing to handle this volume. I do not think they will reach the people I know in time, who are on a schedule of months or even weeks to bankruptcy.
I would instead ask you to donate your refunds directly to one artist. He is a Canadian baritone in Toronto and his name is Michael Robert Broder. He is my friend and it breaks my heart to see him in such serious pain."
I quoted Michael Robert Broder's recent Facebook post, where he outlined his perilous financial condition:
I have worked as a full-time singer without any other income for six years now. I’ve been very lucky to not require a 9-5 job.
In the course of 24 hours, between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, every gig for the remainder of this concert season, up until early September, has been cancelled.
I lost almost $17,000 worth of gigs. Through the generosity of several of those organizations, I’ve recouped some of my losses, but not enough to carry me through to September.
This is a massive financial setback. After this social isolation period is over, I will need to find a more traditional job. If any of the companies are hiring anything that I may be vaguely qualified for, please feel strongly encouraged to recommend me for that position.
Today, I learned that my friends pooled their tickets and sent $450 to Michael Robert Broder via his Paypal account.
Thank you to my dear friends who helped Michael in his time of need.
As for the presenters who left myself, my friends, and my colleagues in financial free-fall:
The audience is listening. And they will vote with their wallets.
P.S. If you want to help an artist directly, send funds or job leads to Michael's Paypal/Email account: Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.