COCKEYSVILLE, Md. — The show must go on. After the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra canceled its summer performances, Baltimore County officials worked with musicians to put on a show for the Independence Day Extravaganza.
Gov. Larry Hogan scrapped money for the BSO from the budget. Hogan said the state of Maryland cannot afford to spend money on programs that are not critical to public safety.
But despite that news and contract negotiations within BSO, musicians still played in front of a packed house Wednesday night in Baltimore County.
BSO was slated to get more than $ 1 million from the state to help bridge a gap in funding. While that seems like a large sum, musicians said it's only a small portion of the organization's budget.
"It's really a nice family evening to come out and spend the night, spend the evening with friends and family and enjoy the fireworks," said concertgoer Tim Kotroco.
"You feel like you're with community, and you're hearing very inspirational tunes," said concertgoer Janet Fabiyi.
Attending the concert is a Baltimore County tradition, but it almost didn't happen.
"There's been a national foundation who is paying for the musicians to be here tonight. We are actually taking part of the operating funding that we have given year over year toward the BSO, and we're supplementing the logistics part of the night through that funding," said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.
While musicians are excited to be back onstage, this concert is a only a brief distraction from mounting money problems.
The lockout of musicians in the BSO is in its third week.
"Luckily, our medical insurance was reinstated, so that's one thing, but still there's no salary and it's going to be a hit of almost $20,000 for each person in the orchestra," said Brian Prechtl, co-chair of the Players' Committee.
Now, Hogan is withholding money lawmakers fenced off for several initiatives, including $1.6 million for the BSO.
"It's disappointing that the governor is making this decision. We met with his chief of staff and they kind of told us we got caught up in an Annapolis problem. I can't do anything about that," said Prechtl.
The administration said discussions are ongoing about a $1 million bridge loan.
Meanwhile, contract negotiations between musicians and management are ongoing.
"There was a $1.5 million shortfall this year that's only 5% of our budget, yet they're making 20% pay cuts across the musicians' salaries, so it doesn't equate," said Prechtl.
In years past, concertgoers had to buy tickets to this concert. This year, it was free to attend.