Labor Day and the Minnesota Orchestra

I’ve been entertaining for the past few days and haven’t had a moment to myself, but I’ve finally got the house to myself. While doing some listening for rehearsals and practicing this week, I was also puttering around online and catching up on links and articles my friends found worthy and interesting enough to post on facebook and twitter.

It is Labor Day, after all, and while many of us don’t realize, have forgotten, or perhaps don’t care what unions have done for us (with the attitude of either, “I’ve got mine, you get yours on your own,” or the attitude of “Mine stinks, yours should too”), as a working musician I am a member of the American Federation of Musicians, local 2-197 here in St Louis, and I’ve been a union member of various locals since I started playing with small orchestras while in school.  I don’t agree with everything the union does and sometimes feel that the union is more interested in the union itself than its members, but the underlying VALUE as a union member is that if we work together, our lives will be better than if we work against each other. That I believe in wholeheartedly: that our lives and our society will be a better place if we work together and work towards the future.

Today on Facebook lots of my friends (most are current and former classmates and colleagues, so primarily musicians) were sharing various blog posts people have written about the Minnesota Orchestra’s ongoing work stoppage. Here in St Louis we have a wonderful symphony with hard working and talented (as much as I hate that word, sometimes it works, as long as you include hard working too) musicians who are paid at or above market value for their careers, and they start their 2013-2014 season soon. Minnesota, on the other hand, has been locked out for a year. Some might say, well, there is no place in the world for classical music and “overpaid” musicians, but I think the fact that other similar markets find plenty of place for their orchestras shows otherwise. Sure, some would rather watch Miley Cyrus twerking on television, but many are thrilled to attend an orchestra or chamber music concert and see some actual artistry and passion…and have the expendable income to spend to help make sure that our culture and humanity continues into the future. (And some might like both—why limit ourselves as human beings?) And why settle for a watered down version of our culture, and pretend that our country doesn’t have the potential for greatness?

TL:DR version: Check out some links to blogs possibly better written than mine (I imagine they proofread and possibly even edit…)

Drew McManus—Arrogance is a weed that grows mostly on a dunghill

Baseball and Beethoven: The Minnesota Orchestra, the Marlins and the Perils of Market Correction

On Patron Advocates

And, if you don’t care about reading all that, I posted the Homestar video that is most appropriate for today on twitter and facebook, but why not here too…

One thought on “Labor Day and the Minnesota Orchestra”

  1. It’s a shame that the arts aren’t appreciated. I do believe in Unions when appropriate. My dad was a teamster and we always had plenty when I was growing up. My sister worked for Toyota and because they don’t want a Union, they have treated their employees very well. So ultimately the Union helped at Toyota too.

    On another note, my son is a percussionist and he went to try for the St. Louis Philharmonic but there were no open spots. Should he join the local Union? Will it help him stay connected for other possible opportunities?
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