John Rhynerson, the chairman of the board of the Master Chorale of Orange County, said Thursday that fewer than 1,900 tickets were sold to the group's first concert of the season, not 2,200 as reported Tuesday.
"Complimentary tickets were in excess of 500 altogether," and not the 200 originally reported, Rhynerson said. The concert took place Oct. 24 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
Rhynerson said the incorrect figure was given because he "misunderstood" a reporter for The Times Orange County Edition who was asking him how the chorale made out.
He said that when the number appeared in The Times on Tuesday, he called the Pacific Chorale (the county's only other major choral group) and the Center to tell officials of those organizations that the number was inaccurate. He did not call The Times, however, because "I was too busy," he said.
The story quoted Pacific Chorale reports that its first concert of the season, held the same weekend, drew 1,427 paying customers.
"I would appreciate a retraction" of the initial Master Chorale figures which "pit one chorale against another," Rhynerson said. "That is not our intention."
For years, however, local arts organizations have complained privately that other organizations have inflated their attendance figures for the press in an effort to appear more successful than their rivals.