Photo by Corey Anderson, Minnpost (
by Jennifer Tuder
Oct 5, 2013, 1:57 PM

You Can’t Have the Hall Without the Orchestra

Former Governor Arne Carlson is on to something: “The leadership has to wake up and realize that losing the orchestra is comparable to losing the Vikings.” His solutions, though, leave something to be desired. Expecting the Vikings to pony up money is like asking the hungry defensive back in front of you on the lunch line to leave you some that rectangle pizza. He’s gotta carbo-load. Looking to the Legacy Amendment funds to support a well-endowed and established arts organization like the Minnesota Orchestra is closer to telling the pep band and the swing choir that they’ll have to buy their own sheet music and costumes from now on because the school spent all the booster money on the new orchestra annex. It will divert much-needed funding for smaller, newer arts organizations into funding a well-established institution.

The State of Minnesota provided $14 million of bonding money so that the orchestra’s management could complete a $52 million renovation of Orchestra Hall. It looks great—or so we’re told by the press and private groups currently using the space. Too bad it doesn’t have an actual orchestra. So let’s ask for our money back. They built the orchestra annex but locked out the band kids and told them that couldn’t afford to let them practice to get into Carnegie Hall. Asking the pep band to pony up for the concert hall is unfair; asking the lettermen to do it is just unrealistic. If the country club kids want a cool place to hold prom, they can pay for it themselves. Let’s give that bonding money to the musicians, to the people who actually fill empty spaces with art.

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