September 2, 2013

Labor Day, the Minnesota Orchestra, and Bill Eddins

Labor Day - a day which has become one on which many people relax at pools and on beaches - is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

On this particular Labor Day, our attention has been drawn even more closely to the now eleven-month unilateral lockout of the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra by their management.   While I like many across the nation and the world have watched this situation unfold over the past year, it is very interesting to point out that Bill Eddins, conductor of the Edmonton Symphony and former assistant conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, eerily shared a scenario that has unfortunately come to fruition.   

Eighteen months after the publication of that shared scenario and the chaos that has ensued, Bill has once again done marvelous work, that being in having organized a think-tank cross-blog event that includes "a collection of more than a dozen bloggers, musicians, patrons, and administrators writing about the orchestra’s devastating work stoppage."    The writers include Mr. Eddins himself, internationally recognized orchestral consultant Drew McManus, Milwaukee Symphony concertmaster Frank Almond, Chattanooga Symphony concertmaster Holly Mulcahy, arts administrator Joe Patti, fine arts attorney Kevin Case and Emily Hogstad, violinist and writer who has attracted international attention for Orchestral Apocalypse '012, her writings on the lockouts that have affected the musicians of both the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. A complete list of the authors and essays can be found here.

Having taken time to read many if not all of these essays, I find myself fascinated by the writing of bassist, grant writer and blogger Tom Peters and definitely congratulate Mr. Eddins and his colleagues for organizing this, All of those who have contributed to this event show a great deal of knowledge about the business of music, the business of orchestras, and both nonprofit and for-profit management and community relations.

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