Forming a Musical Community

As the Christmas/New Years holiday week approaches, Chuck and I have finished a furious round of concerts.  The New Horizons Band where Chuck plays had three concerts of Christmas music – one in the midst of the big snowstorm that hit southeast Michigan on the 11th. While I was unable to play in the Orchard Lake Philharmonic Society Symphony Orchestra this fall, I did attend their concert on the 17th and played in two performances with smaller groups.

It’s a busy time of year for community musicians, as nearly every organization targets a performance in December.   The one group that wasn’t playing was the DSO.   The Detroit Symphony remains locked in a labor dispute that shows no signs of resolution at this time.  I have refrained from talking about the strike with friends or on this blog, and I do not want to take sides.  My reluctance comes from spending too many hours at the negotiating table in labor talks (full disclosure:  representing management).  That experience tells me that what is going on in those talks probably is not being accurately represented in the public statements we’re hearing.   So, at the end of the day, I wish both sides well and hope they can come to a resolution soon.

In the meantime, I do think it is worth reviewing what Bruce Coppock had to say when he gave the keynote address at the DSO’s annual meeting earlier this month.   This former director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra talked about the need for Detroit to embrace the musicians throughout the community, and he outlined a possible course for the DSO to follow to build a community of musicians – professional, amateur, recreational, and student musicians — in Southeast Michigan.  His remarks are thoughtful and thought-provoking, and you can read the transcripts of his remarks here. Coppock Speech Final 12.15.10.   Take a look, and let me know what you think.

In the meantime, have a safe and happy holiday, and here’s to good music in 2011!

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