One of my readers – MaryAnn Goldstein, who you may recognize from the SOTL comment section – is tired of the musical gridlock in the Twin Cities, and so she started a petition asking the MOA to “Play and Talk.” You can sign it here.
Here’s what she wrote:
Since October 1, 2012, the Minnesota Orchestra Association (MOA) has locked out the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, cancelling concerts and educational programs, putting our renowned orchestra, its musicians (who have now begun leaving) and our cultural quality of life in peril. Tens of thousands of Minnesota citizens, including thousands of students, have been negatively impacted by the silence. Michael Henson, MN Orchestra CEO and President, has claimed that the MOA saves over $500,000/ month by locking out the musicians, so at this point, the MOA should have more than enough funds to pay the musicians for the remaining 3 months of the 2012-13 season. As a non-profit organization that receives funding from patrons and the State, the Minnesota Orchestra belongs to the people of Minnesota as well as the Board. Therefore, as music lovers, dedicated music educators, and students who value and miss our world-class, Grammy nominated Minnesota Orchestra, we, the undersigned, ask that the MOA and Board hear our collective voice and reinstate the Minnesota Orchestra 2012-13 season while continuing negotiations with orchestra musicians.
Will this make a difference? I don’t know. (To be brutally honest with you, probably not.) But even if the MOA turns our pleas down, the petition accomplishes several hugely important things:
- it reminds people of the costs of this ongoing conflict;
- it gives people a sense of ownership in the outcome; and
- it presents a positive plausible win-win proposal that everyone should be able to get behind.
- it can’t hurt.
For those reasons alone, I’d recommend sauntering over to the petition and signing it. And please leave a sentence or two describing why play and talk is important to you.
Change.org has several suggestions of how to make petitions count.
- Share the petition with friends and family.
- Share your petition on Facebook.
- Ask people to “like” your Facebook status update about the petition.
- Tweet about the petition.
- Post to your own blog.
- Post as a comment in other relevant blogs.
- Find allies and ask them to sign. In our case, this might consist of music teachers, politicians, business leaders, MOA board members, or other prominent local figures who have a vested interest in the Minnesota Orchestra playing again.
- If you have any other suggestions, leave them in the comment section. Go wild with the brainstorming.
So many of you have asked me “what can I do to help?” And to be honest, I’ve never had a good answer for you besides “don’t stop caring.” But here, finally, is a concrete thing you can do. Sign the petition and spread it. Think of three or five people who you know would be interested, and contact them and ask them to consider signing.
I’m in touch with MaryAnn, and she’ll let me know what’s going on re: the petition. (Brava to her for taking initiative!) You can also follow this Facebook page for updates: “Petition to Ask the Minnesota Orchestra to Play and Talk.” Right now there are plans forming about the delivery of the petition to the MOA, so stay tuned.