#635 – Dick Bernard: An evening of resonance in the midst of dissonance with the LoMoMo (Locked out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra) and Maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski

UPDATE: October 20, 2012. Page E1 of Variety Section of Minneapolis Star Tribune by Larry Fuchsberg, here.
(click to enlarge all photos)
The musicians union website is here; e-address contact@MinnesotaOrchestraMusiciansDOTorg.

A volunteer at Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium October 18, 2012


To the best of my recollection, this is the first time I’ve published two blog posts on the same day. (#634 is below, on this same page.)
Insignificant as my little blog space on the internet might be, this is my tribute to a great orchestra.
From the beginning when I saw the first “Labor” button, to the last of many standing ovations for an exhausted Stanislas Skrowaczewski and his great band, tonight with the musicians of Mn Orchestra was a magnificent experience.
There are major management problems at the Minnesota Orchestra (MSO).
The Orchestra Board has locked out its Orchestra, apparently refusing to negotiate, except on its terms. More in a moment on this. Here is the Union position as distributed this evening after its performance: MN Orchestra Union Posit001 The management position can be found below, in #634.
Here is the program all of us received this evening: Orch Program Oct 18 2012001
We gathered at the large auditorium at Minneapolis Convention Center Oct. 18. It was a full house, someone said 2100 of us in the audience.
I would guess that most of us were regulars at the Orchestra. I saw several I knew: Andy Driscoll from KFAI; the Borgens, the Harings, the Knutsons (who didn’t see me). There were likely others somewhere in that large, crowded space.
Unusual for the Orchestra, after warmup, all members exited the stage, then all filed in to sustained and greatly affectionate applause. We saw one of the violinists was in tears. I’m guessing there were others in the band similarly affected.
Then, to an equal or even greater positive response, came Maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. At 89, the maestro marked his 52nd consecutive year making at least one appearance at the podium of the Minnesota Orchestra.
Skrowaczewski led the Orchestra from 1960-79, during which time it changed its name from Minneapolis to Minnesota Symphony, and it was under his leadership that the new concert hall was built in downtown Minneapolis – a hall presently closed for renovation.
An October 6 letter to the editor by Skrowaczewski and other emeritus conductors of MSO concerning the management-labor conflict was posted in the lobby.

October 18, 2012 - lobby


Tonight we were in magnificent company. From the opening Star Spangled Banner, to the last measures of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, in D Minor, Opus 47, where some members of the audience stood in silent tribute to something important and as yet unknown to me, I felt I was part of a very important event in American labor history. (A clue to the answer to my question might be found here, note the section on the Composition).
Tomorrow will dawn, and it will be back to the work of getting a settlement and getting back to the work of making wonderful music.
It will not be easy.
I spent an entire career, in person, trying to make sense of small and large disputes between management and labor, and I know the dynamics and angst likely going on within the union itself, and how difficult it is to find a way to help someone who has made a stupid mistake – in this case Minnesota Orchestra management – save face so that they can at least settle and at least appear like winners.
When you plant your feet in cement, the cement hardens, you’re stuck, and someone has to help you out….
Having “been there, done that”, I hesitate to make judgements on labor-management issues from outside.
Best as I can tell, though, the Musicians Union has done the right thing.
Now the right thing for us is to give support in the many ways available to us.
Bravo to the Orchestra. Bravo to Maestro Skrowaczewski. Bravo to those volunteers, and Bravo to all of us who give support.
Bravo.
A few snapshots:

The Orchestra rises to be recognized by the audience October 18.


Sam Bergman explains the issues after intermission.


Maestro Skrowaczewski takes one of many bows.



Skrawaczewski's final bow October 18


Comments:
Judy: This one made me cry. We are so very blessed to have this magnificent orchestra in our midst. Please, please hang in there folks. We desperately need you. What is life without music?
Will: Graydon Royce [Minneapolis Star Tribune] wrote in his review today that a few civic officials finally are getting off the dime to try to achieve a settlement for both orchestras. It’s going to take more than that.
I urge separate letters to the [St. Paul Pioneer Press] PP and [Minneapolis Star-Tribune] S-T now briefly recapping last night but urging the governor and the leaders of both Houses to get involved now.
Ask them publicly why they [went all out] for Zygi Wilf and a football team that extorts big bucks from the state treasury and adds nothing to the commonweal but not for two orchestras which are the crown jewels of Minnesota’s cultural community.
Jermitt: Great Blogs on the lock-out. Thanks for sharing….
(in responses, below)
Andy : Great blog, great concert, incredible orchestra. We were as caught up in that as any rally we’ve ever attended. The stunning performances of the Dvorak and Shostakovich had to have been better for the support given those great musicians.
Good to see you there last night, Dick. Keep on keepin’ on.
Nancy: Although musicians honor the composers and performance traditions, and are sustaining an art form into the future, the most important relationship an orchestra has is with its audience. They’re why we do it!

2 replies
  1. Andy Driscoll
    Andy Driscoll says:

    Great blog, great concert, incredible orchestra. We were as caught up in that as any rally we’ve ever attended. The stunning performances of the Dvorak and Shostakovich had to have been better for the support given those great musicians.
    Good to see you there last night, Dick. Keep on keepin’ on.

    Reply
  2. Nancy Ives
    Nancy Ives says:

    Although musicians honor the composers and performance traditions, and are sustaining an art form into the future, the most important relationship an orchestra has is with its audience. They’re why we do it!

    Reply

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