Today’s letter appeared in the 9-10-13 issue of the Star Tribune
Editorial ‘verdict’ was a study in defeatism
Newspapers are sometimes accused of boosterism, but until Saturday I’d never seen its opposite: a Star Tribune editorial making the shameful, dispiriting suggestion that Minnesotans abandon their tradition of cultural excellence (“Verdict on orchestra: Costs are too high”).
I have lived in this community all my life and have never heard civic leaders advise us that our community vision was unrealistic, that our sights were too high, that we were out of our league in aspiring to excellence.
The editorial wasn’t even logical. Positing that artistic excellence was at stake, it proceeded to suggest diminishing the same to save … what? An institution that has lost its soul?
Clearly, the Minnesota Orchestra is sloshing around in some kind of financial doo-doo. It’s also clear the musicians have held up their end of the deal — making music that blows away some of the world’s most sophisticated critics — even as the board has dropped the ball and put the organization on the skids.
Well, the damage is done. We need a solution.
But it must not be to cheat musicians of compensation commensurate with their world-class talent, deprive the community of its music and downgrade the cultural status of the Twin Cities. The solution lies instead in a board that knows how to run an orchestra like an orchestra (not like a bank), is savvy enough in its community relations to cultivate and engage sufficient resources, is truthful about its finances, and eschews brute bullying as a management style.
MARY PATTOCK, Minneapolis