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Deal saves Symphony Center from auction

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Just when it seemed the Nashville Symphony might play its last note, the organization reached a deal that relieves much of the orchestra's debt and saves its beautiful building from the auction block.

The Nashville Symphony has gone from having more than $100 million in debt to only $20 million of debt. It couldn't have happened without high-profile help.

After much negotiating, the Symphony struck a deal to avoid foreclosure, and it got a big boost from Nashville philanthropist Martha Ingram, who provided the equity to close the transaction.

Now everyone is ready to move forward.

"After months of discussion with our lenders, we are pleased to have reached a comprehensive resolution that represents the best path forward for all parties involved," said Ed Goodrich, chairman of the Nashville Symphony Association in a news release.

"With a healthier balance sheet, the Symphony will be in a better position to pursue its cultural mission of engaging the community, enriching audiences and shaping cultural life through musical excellence and educational vision," he said. "We deeply appreciate the professional and constructive approach of our bank lenders in the complex negotiations, and we are grateful to our generous patrons, the city of Nashville and the Mayor's office. All of these interested parties have contributed significantly to the resolution of this matter, and without their support, this settlement would not have been possible."

Ingram released a statement through her spokesman.

"The important thing is a solution was reached, foreclosure has been stopped, and Nashville will not lose its symphony and symphony center downtown," she said. "The settlement is a great encouragement to all of us who have worked so hard over the years to build the orchestra and its spectacular new home downtown. It is clear now that the symphony organization has work to do to improve its operating results and develop increased annual support from its donors. I wish them the best with all of this."

The symphony owed Bank of America more than $82 million in bonds. Before the deal was reached, a public auction for the Schermerhorn Symphony Center had been scheduled for Friday.

"This resolution will allow the Nashville Symphony to remain a vital part of our city's entertainment and cultural scene that the world has come to identify with our name as Music City," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. "I commend and appreciate all the parties involved for the way they have worked to bring about this very positive result. I'm looking forward to another great year of music from the Symphony and the great educational programming they offer to families and children in our community. I also want to say a special word of thanks to the heads of the local banks that were involved for their leadership in this effort."

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