Letter to Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley

Dear Ms. Riley,

I met you at the Dominican Literacy Center Tutor Appreciation dinner last year.  You may recall that my 14-year old son, Ryan, played violin for the guests prior to the dinner.

I loved hearing you speak and your passion for stamping out illiteracy.  Your columns on the subject have inspired me and endeared you to me.

I have another two passions that I think we share: Detroit and its symphony, the DSO.

The media needs to start seriously addressing the topic of this strike.  The loss of patrons to the corridor around The Max is affecting Detroit businesses.  The loss of a DSO season may do irreparable harm to Detroit’s economy and may result in the loss of the DSO.  Why is the media not asking more questions of the DSO management?  I attended the luncheon for the DSO’s Annual Meeting on December 9, 2010 and the DSO’s President and CEO, Ann Parsons, did not address the strike at all.  Her talk to the donors was weak and showed a lack of leadership given the crisis facing the DSO.  The consultant who spoke revealed management’s true vision driving their actions to prolong the strike.  A small handful of people have decided that Detroit is better off with a chamber-styled orchestra, not the current world-class orchestra Detroit currently has.  The media has not addressed the underlying issues behind the strike.  It is not about pay. It is about much more than that and Detroit stands to lose one of its greatest jewels if Ms. Parsons is successful.

I have literally shed tears over this.  Did you know that my son quit playing the violin this past fall?  He told me he was too busy.  Last night it dawned on me.  We haven’t been to the symphony once this year.  The music not only died for me on the stage at The Max, but in my home as well.  I don’t think its a coincidence that my son lost interest in the violin the same year we quit going to hear the DSO.  Don’t let the music die in Detroit.  Please address this topic in your column.

I helped form the group Save Our Symphony.  You can read about SOS’ position in this email or at saveoursymphony.info.  We are the DSO’s audience and are trying to raise public awareness; but this is an uphill battle and time is short.

Thank you Rochelle Riley for all you do.  You have become a solid and sane voice for what’s important to Detroit.  Please give voice to the tragedy happening to Detroit right under everyone’s nose.

Denise Neville

SOS Board Member


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One Response to Letter to Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley

  1. Phil Clampitt says:

    Wonderful letter, Denise. It almost brought me to tears. I hope Rochelle Riley will publish the whole thing in one of her columns. Or that the Free Press will publish it as a commentary separately. Or both! Phil

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