Florida’s Punta Gorda Symphony and Music Director Raffaele Ponti.

“The Punta Gorda Symphony’s musicians and conductor have voiced their dismay after the board of directors canceled their final performance of the season at the last minute,” reports Annette Mongtomery in Sunday’s (4/4) WINK TV (Southwest Florida). “On Sunday night, people traveled to the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center to hear the Punta Gorda Symphony, only to find the musicians outside on the curb telling people that the event had been canceled just hours earlier. [Music Director Raffaele] Ponti and principal clarinetist Stacey McColley feel the board of directors canceled the symphony’s final performance, ‘Cinematic Sounds,’ in order to silence the musicians [about abruptly announced audition policies]…. The last straw for the Punta Gorda Symphony musicians came in an email on March 27. The board chairman wrote that everyone had to submit an audition tape by March 31. ‘If you know anything about taking auditions, people prepare for up to eight weeks for an audition,’ McColley said…. Ponti says he planned to make the audience aware of the board’s actions at Sunday night’s concert. He believes that’s why it was canceled. But a spokesperson for the symphony says the board was saddened to learn about a series of discussions that led to what they interpreted as physical threats, which resulted in the last-minute cancelation.”