‘Fit and slim’ orchestras are forced out of business

‘Fit and slim’ orchestras are forced out of business


norman lebrecht

August 25, 2017

Hours after the leak of an email calling for ‘only fit and slim’ performers, Toronto’s Sheraton Cadwell Group announced it was shutting down. The company has been organising orchestras for 14 years.

Its cessation letter begins:

Dear Members:

In consideration of recent events in our personal lives, we hope that you would accept our notice of resignation with immediate effect.

With our resignation, our financial funding for the SHERATON CADWELL community service project & music training program will also be terminated forthwith with much regret and, as such, the entire organisation will cease to exist in due course.

We sincerely apologize for any embarrassment/harassment that you may experience from media representatives or other individuals/parties as a result of misconstrued/malicious allegations and extremely negative/destructive/evil intent.

Read full letter here.



  • Gary Carpenter says:

    “As a corporate entity, we blossomed like a transient pretty little wild flower in the vast unforgiving Canadian wilderness over the years and served our purpose to our Creator for a long time with much humility, joy and good humour.”

    Self-awareness probably not their main suit…

  • Observer says:

    Yuck. What kind of professional organization would spew out crap like this – infusing religion into into it and comparing themselves to a “transient pretty little flower”?

    Reading between the lines, I am trying to get a handle on who would write such nonsense. It’s a woman writing, the same one who issued the edict on “slim and fit” performers. She sounds like a sheltered back-woods fundamentalist Christian. If she wasn’t Canadian, and in the US, I’d guess she’s a Trump supporter.

    The edict itself is just plain ignorant, and the announcement is maudlin and passive aggresive. Not to mention childish and vindictive. “We’ve done so much for the arts and the community and God and now the big bad media is harassing us.” Like a petulant child, they think they’re taking their toys away so that no one can play. Newsflash: the music world of Toronto will be much better off without them. Good riddance.

    What musician in their right mind could comfortably work for an organization headed by such an unprofessional woman? Sounds like they’ve been taking advantage and profitting of off desperate, underemployed musicians in the area.

    Good riddance to this ridiculous organization and the stupid woman who is issuing these press releases. I hope she gains 20 pounds from the stress of this situation.

    • Steve P says:

      “She sounds like a sheltered back-woods fundamentalist Christian. If she wasn’t Canadian, and in the US, I’d guess she’s a Trump supporter.”

      Yeah, that sounds about right. Probably beats her kids, too.

  • Malcolm Kottler says:

    Another story that may interest readers is this.

    Toronto Orchestra Faces Public Relations Nightmare After Fat-Shaming Email Leaked
    By Michael Vincent on August 24, 2017


    It contains this about the writer of the email:
    “Though Dunitz addressed her email to General Manager, Andrew Chong, it is unclear who actually wrote the email.”

  • Robert Holmén says:

    These orchestras were really more like swing era “big bands” for hotel ball rooms, right?

  • Bruce says:

    Gotta love the “we tried, and if we failed it was because we were too good for this cruel world and they all ganged up against us” attitude.

  • Sue says:

    Phew, that means I won’t have to audition because I’m over-weight!:-)

  • Alex says:

    Word on the street now is that this ‘orchestra’ is simply one of a series of identical ensembles in Toronto run by just one person (an Andrew Chong) under a numbered company. Only the band with controversial name has been shut down. The others apparently continue to operate. Their websites lead to the same mailing address.

    Furthermore, there is now suspicion that this person has lined his own pockets from the proceeds of gigs that the players did for charity. The fat-shaming email is silly, cruel and amateurish, especially coming from a professional manager, but I would be much more concerned about the allegation of musicians being defrauded under the guise of charity.