It seems you can’t swing a dead cat these days without hitting yet another politician looking into the Minnesota Orchestral Association. Here’s the latest…
On Tuesday February 12 at 2:15pm, there will be a committee meeting discussing Minnesota Legacy funding in Room 5 of the State Office Building in St. Paul. The Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will be subjects of discussion. Representatives from both sides of the Minnesota Orchestra labor dispute (including Mr. Henson) have been asked to speak. Community voices such as Orchestrate Excellence will also be present. The public is welcome to attend. The Legacy Committee is chaired by Rep. Phyllis Kahn, who, as you may remember, was the first lawmaker to sound the alarm over the Minnesota Orchestral Association’s behavior toward musicians and taxpayers back in early December. It’s worth re-reading her editorial to get a vibe for where she stands on this issue. Needless to say, it ought to be one of the more gripping Legacy committee meetings in recent memory.
If I were you, I’d thank the representatives for showing an interest in this cultural and economic catastrophe. The lawmakers who are on the Legacy committee are:
- Phyllis Kahn
- Leon Lillie
- Dean Urdahl
- Mike Freiberg
- Steve Green
- Alice Hausman
- Joe McDonald
- Mary Murphy
- Paul Torkelson
- Jean Wagenius
- John Ward
- Anna Wills
You may also want to pass along a link to this blog if you have found it helpful in understanding the conflict. (Especially if you’re in Minnesota; Minnesotans’ emails are read more quickly than Wisconsinites.)
Since the representatives’ time to study up on this ridiculously complicated topic is extremely limited, you may want to share a link to this flier I made a few weeks ago. Use it whenever, wherever. Post it on Facebook; hand it out to friends; keep a couple in your purse. No attribution is necessary. Feel free to alter it to reflect your personal concerns… If, say, the impact of the lockout on education resonates more strongly with you than something else already on the flier, then change it. Insert an email address or phone number if you would like to establish personal contact with whoever you pass it out to. Of course this is only a very brief summary, and a lot of important points are left out, but it’s a bit difficult to cram a years-long labor dispute into two pages.
Here’s a direct link. http://www.scribd.com/doc/120014661/Things-to-Know-About-the-Lockout
“Orchestrate Excellence has been invited to testify before the Legacy Committee of the House of Representatives this Tuesday, February 12th. We are pleased and honored to be your voice – the voice of the community – during this difficult time.
We will continue to share our research into the effects of the lockout with legislators and civic leaders, but we also want to know what you think. What are your ideas for positive ways the entire community can move to resolve the lockout?”
What ideas do you have?
I shared my three biggest ones in my Minnesota Public Radio commentary: “Minnesota Orchestra’s ‘fresh start’ needs to go beyond talks with musicians.” Those were:
- Release the entire 2012-2015 Strategic Plan to public scrutiny.
- Require Minnesota Orchestra CEO Michael Henson, Wells Fargo Vice President and MOA Board Chair Jon Campbell, and US Bancorp CEO and Immediate Past Chair Richard Davis to participate in multiple in-depth interviews about their plans and intentions for the Minnesota Orchestra.
- Hold a series of meetings with the public: a listening tour, if you will.
I’ve got plenty more ideas, too – believe you me – but these three things won’t cost a single dime. The only thing keeping the Minnesota Orchestral Association from doing them is fear that they’ll come across as utter incompetents. However, they really ought not worry, because they’ve already secured that reputation…and not just in Minneapolis, but around the world. Them worrying about coming across badly is a bit like worrying about a sprinkler getting you wet after you’ve fallen into a pool.
So. What are your ideas to help end the lockout? If you were in charge, what you do to fix the Minnesota Orchestra’s innumerable and seemingly intractable problems? Unlike the Minnesota Orchestral Association, I want your input…and so does Orchestrate Excellence.
Anyway. This is quite the turn of events, isn’t it? If you’ll excuse me, I hear some popcorn popping…