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.
Maybe if the board and management had addressed our concerns, or even acknowledged our existence, the public wouldn’t be in the incredibly awkward position of having to picket parties to get a chance to get some answers. They had ten months to reach out to us. They didn’t.
Hopefully this message is clear to the MOA monitors who frequent this blog and its comment section.
Please keep in mind this is completely separate from what the musicians are doing. I don’t know what if anything the musicians are planning in this regard, but I don’t really need to know, because locked-out patrons have all the right in the world to make a fuss by themselves. This isn’t a mere management/musicians dispute, and it never has been. This lockout is a triangle of dysfunction between management/musicians/patrons, and if management and the board ignores the patron part of that equation, whether out of malice or sheer incompetence, then don’t be surprised when we start raising our voices.
It still remains to be seen what exact form the picketing will take, and how formally it will be organized, but we ought to discuss it now and get the ball rolling. So. Thoughts? Leave them here. Join the conversation on Facebook. Brainstorm. The conversation will no doubt continue over the summer.
In the meantime, get your signs ready.