Letter from Joan G. Berndt
To the Board Members of the DSO:
Please heed the requests of so many Detroiters and DSO listeners/supporters and get back to serious and sincere negotiations as soon as possible. Negotiation is a two way street; so far it appears to many of us that it has been a one way highway, as in “your way or the highway.”
I’ve lived in this area all my life; I grew up with the DSO and can remember as a child listening to the Ford Sunday Evening Hour on the radio. I also remember the sad days when Reichhold withdrew his support, and the DSO ceased to exist for a while. If this should happen again, it will never come back. As a musician myself, who studied with DSO musicians in the past, who worked with DSO musicians in the past, and who has performed in and conducted community orchestras, I have more than a passing interest in the future of the DSO. It is not acceptable to take away a world class top ten orchestra which has been a gem in the music world putting Detroit “on the musical map,” and replace it with anything less.
What is the real agenda here? To get the DSO playing again under a reasonably austere plan, or to drive the top musicians out and create another regional orchestra? We already have several of those–good ones, too, but not in the same league with one of the best orchestras in the United States.
The DIA, Detroit’s other cultural gem, has found a way to continue at a high level. Are their Board members smarter than you DSO Board members? Or are they working with management which promotes and cherishes high quality artistry, which refuses to promote mediocrity and call it a new cultural wave that is good enough for Detroit.
There has to be a way to resolve this issue even though the financial situation is dire. Only one side being willing to make sacrifices is hardly an avenue to resolution. If you win the battle over your stubbornness and lose the war when the orchestra we have known and love disappears, your victory will be hollow with the loss to the quality of life in the Detroit area immeasurable.
Please, think about the long term effects of this situation, and get things moving towards a fair settlement before any more time is lost.
Joan G. Berndt