Sunday, March 30, 2008

Imagination, moxie being tested as Shreveport tries to decide the fate of the symphony's core players

Horn / SusanRogers, SSO
Originally uploaded by trudeau
Is this generation of Shreveporters unwilling to fully sustain a gift - a resident orchestra - bestowed upon us by an earlier generation?

For a moment, imagine the financial restoration of the symphony as a challenge faced by hot-shot groups of competitive people who appreciate what Shreveport has to offer. Are there any models to use as a show-me? SciPort comes to mind as a parallel to the SSO. Robinson Film center is another success. The advent of the city's first black mayor offers lessons in how to retool an institution.

Is the tariff for keeping the core musicians a ridiculous sum?

Is there a question as to how much enrichment there is to be had from paying a highly-trained group of players - by contract - to present performances and educate our youth?

Shreveport has been riding a wave for the past year or two. The money from the oil patch is flowing, the series of movie productions has raised our self-esteem, the successes of SciPort, Centenary College, Caddo Magnet High, the Robinson Film Center and Cedric Glover have enabled the city to contemplate a higher rank in urban quality of life. Then there are the tantalizing possibilities of the Cyber Command facility.

The city is at a crossroads in cultural commitment. Is there a group of builders who can overarch the current Symphony board's fall-back budget?

Across America the average city is struggling to pay the orchestra.
Might a group of Shreveporters show the entire nation how to retool this institution?

This crisis presents an opportunity for a new generation of community leaders to evolve. As a past member of the SSO board who burned out under the mandatory sacrifices of hours of meetings and money to be raised, I'm aware of both the satisfactions and privations to be faced in being a friend of the symphony.

This is Not an easy one. But maintaining the gold standard, making sure that tradiitional culture flourishes, is always a challenge.

If you're ready to hear the magic and see the core performers in action, please add Sat, Ap 5, 7:30 pm, Riverside Theater to your calendar. This concert, called Shakespeare & Co, presents an integration of drama and music. It's part of a series called Symphonic Fusion initiated by Maestro Michael Butterman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The demise of the Florida Philharmonic should serve as a warning that it is truly possible to end an orchestra. While it existed, the Florida Philharmonic, in addition to having its own concert season, served as the orchestra for the Florida Grand Opera. With the folding of the orchestra, the opera had to find another orchestra to replace it. Recently, the FGO fired the new orchestra (yes, the entire orchestra) citing its unacceptable quality of performance as the reason. The opera may be able to find yet another orchestra since that area has a fairly large talent pool to choose from. We do not have such a pool of talent in this area. I worry that we will not realize what we have lost until it is too late.