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Schermerhorn Symphony Center faces financial pinch

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A financial crisis could close the doors of the beloved Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The downtown home of the Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony is in debt, and the bank that loaned the money is now asking for payback.

Despite the ongoing negotiations, the symphony is letting fans know it's not in trouble just yet.

Symphony officials hosted donors Tuesday evening to raise funds for their general operations costs.

The symphony owes more than $82 million in bonds that have already been called in. The symphony and its lenders decided not to seek a renewal of their letter of credit backing those bonds.

Members of the symphony's financial advisory committee say they're working quickly and are now working on negotiations with the lenders with the goal of achieving long-term financial stability.

Recently, rumors surfaced that the symphony had been given a deadline of this week to either pay up or face foreclosure.

In a letter to members posted Tuesday, Schermerhorn President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Valentine said of the rumors, "This is simply not true, and we continue to engage in discussions with the bank group."

Mayor Karl Dean said the prospect of possibly losing the popular downtown landmark is currently out of the city's hands.

"What's going on at the symphony right now, in terms of their financing and those issues, is really an issue between private parties, and the city isn't part of that. Obviously, we support the symphony, and we think it is a wonderful part of our city," Dean said.

When asked if the city would help bail the symphony out, the mayor said for now nobody has asked the city to intervene.

"At this point we're observing, and we're watching closely," Dean said. "It is an amazing part of the cultural options that are offered here in Nashville, and we want to see that continue. So, we'll just continue to monitor the situation."

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