A note of politics before the Arkansas Symphony played Mahler | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 27, 2017

A note of politics before the Arkansas Symphony played Mahler

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 7:03 AM

  • ASO

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performed Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony Sunday and concert-goers report it was preceded by some symphony messaging geared to the current times.

Reports Ernest Dumas:

Great performance of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, but an unusual happening at the start. Instead of the usual short remarks by the symphony's development person and executive pointing out the corporate sponsors, a member of the orchestra stepped forward and made a great patriotic talk.

She said she wanted to talk about the orchestra's and the combined choirs' diversity. "We are gay, we are straight..." she said.

With the audience repeatedly applauding, she went on to talk about black and white, people of many faiths and philosophies, named the many countries from which the musicians hailed from, talked about the ethnicities of their children and their mothers and fathers, all of whom she said were "exceptional." "And we are all Americans."

When Phillip Mann, the conductor, came out to talk about the Mahler symphony, he concluded by mentioning a sponsor and leading source of support for the symphony, the National Endowment for the Arts. I'd never heard it mentioned before,—usually Entergy, Acxiom and other corporate groups. Of course, speculation is that NEA is on the chopping block of President Trump and the Republican Congress. The money is needed for immigration enforcement and the military building. No mention of Trump or Congress or immigration enforcement, but the message was pretty powerful.

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