Although some of the mystical ‘leading economic indicators’ seem to be recovering, don’t think this country is done with the nightmare. For the most part, I have been insulated from the economic crisis. A key reason for this: I had no money when the crisis began; I am exactly as broke as I was when all of this started.
But a some recent news items point out how dire things still are. In March, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra went on strike, and now it seems the Syracuse Symphony may have to cancel the rest of its season. What? We’re talking he cornerstone of the entire upstate New York classical music industry–how could we let this happen? I mean, GM is one thing–but the Syracuse Symphony?! Where are the congressional hearings? Where’s the outrage?
I don’t think any of us can imagine where this will lead. Fewer musicians working could mean that, I think for the first time in our nation’s history, we could see musicians in the unemployment line. Less rehearsal time may mean that audiences will be forced to endure unevenly performed string quartets. And who knows–maybe they won’t even be played by quartets! Everyone knows that our nation’s cellists are the first to be cast aside in a crisis.
Of course, economic analysts often point to small regional orchestras as the true bellweathers of the economy–the proverbial ‘canaries in the coal mine.’ Just think what might happen next. Ballet companies having to dance in street shoes…operas mounted with NO incidental music… a production of Wagner’s ‘Ring’ cut down to only three and a half hours!
If the SSO and other crucial groups are not bailed out by the federal government, the repercussions will shatter the very foundations of our society. We cannot leave our children a country in which community theaters, in the interest of ‘financial responsibility,’ have to mount productions of “One Gentleman of Verona” or “Seven Angry Men.” Or a version of “The Music Man’ where the townsfolk can only sing about “55 Trombones.” Please, people. Demand that Congress save the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. Or this great experiment, this America, will surely collapse.