I wrote a Twitter thread about this and thought I’d adapt it for an entry, in case these sentiments would be helpful to anyone who isn’t on Twitter.
Here’s a message for the Baltimore Symphony musicians and audience advocacy group Save Our BSO on the night that the Baltimore Symphony lockout begins…
These kinds of tactics have been used before, and a decent chunk of us in the classical music twittersphere and blogosphere have watched it happen (and not just in Minnesota in 2012).
Musician supporters are not fighting sheerly for the livelihoods of musicians, as important and indeed as sacred as those are. We are fighting for the preservation of the life-changing blessing of orchestral music that has changed (and in some cases maybe saved) our lives.
What’s happening in Baltimore is awful governance. Baltimore deserves better. Any community deserves better.
I don’t know how this will shake out, and the uncertainty is terrifying, especially for those directly financially and professionally affected by it.
That said, folks will be alongside you to celebrate or to mourn, as the occasion requires.
Keep your allies posted, as best you can, about what the most overwhelming things happening are. We will do our best to help, and to share any wisdom that we happened to accrue while enduring orchestral labor disputes of our own.
We who advocate for the transparent, responsive governance of American orchestras must push back against this failure.
Know that this is deeply, deeply personal for so many of us, whether we’re musicians or patrons.
That knowledge will not pay musicians’ bills. It will not temper the pain of having to leave their families for weeks on end to take sub gigs to survive. It will not secure stable organizational leadership. It will not make the board listen to desperately worried sick patrons.
But I hope that in some small way the knowledge that you are not alone will comfort you. I hope it comforts you to know that you are right to care, and to sacrifice as far as you see fit, and to know that you are not alone.
You are not alone.
Blessings to all. Keep in touch.
Friends, please stay up to date on this situation! The Baltimore Symphony Musicians’ website is here. The Save Our BSO audience advocacy group website is here. From there you can follow those groups on social media.
If you feel moved, please support transparent governance however you can, whether by reading articles online about the dispute (this helps show the press that people care!), or by liking and sharing social media posts, or by donating money, or by sending letters or emails of support, or by considering doing whatever else these groups suggest the public do. Those are the best ways to help right now. And good thoughts and a few prayers wouldn’t go amiss, either.
Signing off with the hope that American orchestral governance as a whole improves, and soon. There are so many smart, creative people in this field. I hope we can build a future where we can avoid these heartwrenching situations entirely.