A Red Letter Day for the Redline Express…

Drew McManus is a wizard, and he has a special potion, and he has offered it to Minnesota Orchestra management, and they have partaken in it. How else to explain this totally unexpected way-out-of-left-field possible geyser gush of transparency?

At the end of last month, I published an article that examined the value of comprehensive perspective when it comes to considering proposed changes in collective bargaining agreements. Since then, I have obtained a copy of the complete redline agreement the Minnesota Orchestra submitted to musicians as their last official offer (which was subsequently voted down on 9/29/12) and concluded it would be educational to begin examining the document here at Adaptistration.

The document has been verified as complete and accurate by official representatives from both the Minnesota Orchestra (MO) and the Minnesota Orchestra Musicians (MOM); my thanks to both groups for their cooperation.

A visual representation of what I felt like after reading Drew McManus this morning

Could it be…that…

Management is starting to care about public opinion?


A little?




Minnesota Orchestra representatives didn’t need to agree to do this. As Mr. McManus notes, “This sort of endeavor has never been tried before mostly because obtaining a copy of a complete redline agreement, even after a contentious dispute settles, is next to unheard of.” Maybe I’m missing something very big and very obvious, but…what would management have to gain by agreeing to do this, besides possibly some public support? (And even that isn’t guaranteed, depending on how they react. If they play their cards poorly, this could end up to be a net PR loss for them.) And no offense to Mr. McManus, but the broader public doesn’t read Adaptistration. If representatives from the orchestra had declined Mr. McManus’s request, I’m guessing that only a handful of largely pro-musician people would have noticed…and at this point the majority of us is so disgusted with management that it wouldn’t have changed our tune at all. So might this mean that management is trying to reach out to the online pro-musicican set? Maybe? If not, who are they trying to reach? Why did they decide to do this? Who are the representatives from the orchestra? Do they have faith in their ability to publicly defend their contract? Is that faith warranted? Did Michael Henson okay this? Is he losing control of his chess pieces? I don’t know. But I really wasn’t expecting this, to say the least.

And then take a gander at this paragraph:

The MO and MOM have indicated a degree of willingness to provide additional insight, justification, and rationale behind why changes have been presented and/or why changes are opposed. This input will be included wherever possible; similarly, spokespersons for both sides have been invited to leave comments at any respective article to offer additional insight and clarification.

Insight, justification, AND rationale?


I mean, yay, obviously, of course, but –


*settles in*

*pops some popcorn*

This could get very, very interesting very, very quickly.

As I mentioned in the comment section of an earlier entry, I find that one of the bizarrest things about this whole bizarre conflict is the fact that an uneducated 23-year-old from Wisconsin ended up being the one who wrote the most words about it. I think that’s fricking insane. And so I can’t express how delighted and relieved I am to hear that other more experienced voices are speaking up. I look forward to their insights with gratitude.

And I’m so very glad that the person spearheading this effort is Drew McManus, who is always so calm and polite and professional. I think of him as the Nate Silver of the orchestral world. If I was planning on writing about arts disputes for a living, I’d want to write like him. We desperately need someone in this conversation who isn’t panicking that her beloved orchestra is slipping away, who isn’t personally and professionally associated with various musicians, who isn’t contemplating moving from Minneapolis if the orchestra’s quality seriously declines. As I’ve said since the beginning, the stakes are too high for me to be clear-headed. So let’s all give a round of applause to Mr. McManus for taking on this project, and let’s (this feels so weird to be saying) give a round of applause to management (wow this feels weird to be saying) for seeming to possibly try to attempt to perhaps take a little tiny step toward transparency, maybe (what did I just say?). Let’s give Mr. McManus lots and lots of views, okay? I challenge you to make this the most popular online phenomenon since Snowqueen Icedragon’s “Master of the Universe.” Maybe if we make it really popular, we could succeed in getting a film adaptation of the contract made. I guarantee you such a thing would be more interesting than the Fifty Shades movie.

Anyway. I’m not sure if this exercise will clarify much. It could clarify a lot; it could clarify relatively little. It might change minds; it might harden them. But at the very least it will be interesting. And will be the closest thing to accessible public dialogue that we’ve seen yet.

And so once again we find ourselves in a roller coaster in uncharted territory. Boy, this story has been weird.

Stay tuned…

1 Comment

Filed under My Writing

One response to “A Red Letter Day for the Redline Express…

  1. I will follow the adoptistration…….comments…… with regularity…but i will also closely follow your comments as well……
    from a (at this time) quiet bass player…..:)

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