Monthly Archives: July 2013

Young Musicians and Munchkins

Yesterday was quite the day: the Young Musicians of Minnesota made metro-wide news.


Yeah, unbeknownst to the locked out Minnesota Orchestra musicians, the Young Musicians of Minnesota brought their instruments to Nicollet Mall to play a concert of Tchaikovsky 4 in front of US Bancorp. Their mission? To send a message to Richard Davis to end the lockout of their mentors and heroes. YMM members deliberately didn’t tell the musicians what they were up to. I’m sure there are rumors floating around the upper floors of US Bancorp and Wells Fargo that those damn musicians put ’em up to it, but to believe that would be to succumb to the worst kind of cynicism. (Hear that, Minnesota Orchestral Association monitors? Good.) Sadly, Richard Davis didn’t acknowledge the crowd, nor did he send anyone down to say hello, but they did get an awful lot of attention on the Mall.


Some of YMM at the US Bancorp gig

I couldn’t be there, but I was tipped off about the show beforehand, and so I shooed some dedicated Twin Cities Larkers to downtown Minneapolis, and I heard a couple reports of how the afternoon went. Well it turns out there was press there, and US Bancorp couldn’t really do much about any of it except watch uneasily and talk to people on cell phones.

Consequently the following three videos aired last night on KSTP at 4:30, 6, and 10. Kudos to YMMer Emily Green, who has more composure in a major interview than any other teenager I’ve ever seen.

I did notice, though…. There’s something in the first video that got snipped out of the second two. See if you can spot it!

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Filed under Labor Disputes, Minnesota Orchestra

Roundup of Orchestra News

Well, not much news on the orchestra front, considering how close to orchestral Armageddon and the cancellation of the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2013-14 season we are. There was a funny rumor going around that former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell had gotten involved with –

I’m sorry.


That’s true?

They’re bringing in the man who made peace in Northern Ireland to solve an orchestral labor dispute?


You’ve got to be kidding me

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Filed under Labor Disputes, Minnesota Orchestra

Notes On Richard Davis

A few days ago, the following letter appeared in the Strib.

On July 18, Minneapolis Institute of Arts members will vote on a slate of 10 nominees for vacant three-year positions on the board. One of the nominees is Richard Davis, the CEO of US Bancorp and a major architect of the current disastrous Minnesota Orchestra lockout.

Unfortunately, MIA members must vote on the entire slate rather than for or against individual nominees. We therefore urge all MIA members concerned about the future of the arts in the Twin Cities to contact the MIA and request that Mr. Davis withdraw his name from the ballot.

We are proud to live in a city noted for its philanthropy (both corporate and individual), and appreciate those who volunteer to lead our nonprofits. But orchestra fans horrified at the catastrophic damage inflicted by this board’s tactics do not want to see Davis governing another Minnesota gem. Even under the most charitable interpretation of his actions with the orchestra, the continuing stalemate and controversy make him a very unwise choice for another local arts board.

This letter was signed by the following members of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts: Jackson Bryce, St. Paul (Marjorie Crabb Garbisch Professor of Classical Languages and the Humanities Emeritus, Carleton College); Carolyn Hawkins, Minneapolis; Christine Gregory Knutson, Minneapolis (associate director of development, MIA, 1989-1993); Nita Krevans, St. Anthony; Sheila McNally, Minneapolis (Professor Emerita of Art History, University of Minnesota); Philip Sellew, St. Paul; Patti Stuhlman, Edina, and Stephanie Cain Van D’Elden, Minneapolis.

So while the Strib’s on the topic… Let’s talk a little bit about Richard Davis.

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Filed under Labor Disputes, Minnesota Orchestra

OMG! Cancellations!

In case you haven’t heard it by now, the MOA canceled its Summer Lineup of concerts. There are no more concerts scheduled.

My reaction in a Tumblr-style gif below the fold…

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Filed under Labor Disputes, Minnesota Orchestra


I hate to rain on your Fourth of July parade, but I was part of a rather gloomy MPR article yesterday, along with Bill Eddins, Drew McManus, John Budd, and Norman Lebrecht. (Pretty heady company there.) An excerpt…

No union musician will play at the Minnesota Orchestra as long as the lock out continues, Hogstad said, and one shouldn’t forget what she calls rage among some audience members who feel their concerns have been dismissed by management.

“I would like to send a very clear message to the MOA and anyone who is planning on renting out the hall, that as long as there is no resolution of this there will be picketing and leafleting by patrons,” Hogstad said.

So. The cat is out of the bag. If the dispute is unresolved within the next few weeks, there will be picketing. Period. Anyone that books that darn hall will have to answer to angry patrons. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess what day and time various events are likely to be scheduled. You want to book the hall for a wedding? Know your guests will have to deal with picketing. You want to have a Christmas party? Know your guests will have to deal with picketing. You want to have a corporate dinner on stage in Hall? Know your guests will have to deal with picketing. Symphony Ball? Know the board will have to deal with picketing. Yes, come Symphony Ball time, the board will either have to engage in meaningful conversation with patrons, or ignore us and watch our waving signs and wonder what we’re up to. I imagine that more than one banker or lawyer will wish the old blue tubes were up blocking the view of the streets. (Is it too late in the renovation process to install curtains…?) Picketing picketing picketing. Picketing. Peaceful picketing, and respectful picketing, but picketing nonetheless. Firm picketing. Resolved picketing. Picketing.

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Filed under Labor Disputes, Minnesota Orchestra, Uncategorized