Dear M.O. Patron: Screw You.

Dear Patron of the Minnesota Orchestra: We have a very important message to send to you at the beginning of the second (yes, that’s right, the 2nd!) lockout year, brought to you by sheer intransigence, uncommon arrogance, and a total disregard for ethics, morals, or anything else: screw you.

This disparagement has gone on long enough. We, your Board of Directors, have spent the last 4 years (yes, that’s right, four years!) cooking the books, plotting to reset the business model (whatever the hell THAT means), raising millions of dollars for a beautiful lobby, and ignoring whomever has pleaded for a more rational approach to how we want to do business.

No, let us rephrase that – summarily ignoring whomever has pleaded for a more rational approach to how we want to do business. For the last 1 1/2 years we have been feeding you dubious information, parading around like an arrogant tinpot dictator, and now even dissing the man who brought you peace in Northern Ireland, and what thanks do we get? We get trashed in the media, we get angry letters from you people, we get bad press across the Western world. None of you have even deigned to recognize the valuable service we have volunteered for.

Well, screw you. Let Osmo leave. Who cares about a Music Director anyway? He’s unimportant, and we surely can replace him with someone cheaper without it (and this is important, so pay attention!) impacting the “artistic product” (whatever that is; we are soooooo tired of hearing about that overrated nonsense – we are trying to run a business here). Osmo is just a line item on our suddenly unbalanced budget (that we have known about for four years, but that isn’t important right now). It’s just like those pesky musicians – we’ll just order up another one, but this time he will be completely beholden to us. How about that?

Carnegie Hall? Who cares? No one we have ever heard of has played there, it can’t be important. And anyway, they don’t have the lobby that we do! You can rent our lobby for weddings or whatever! You can’t do that at that lame Carnegie Hall place. That grubby old dump sounds too much like a deli. What’s the big deal?

Recordings? Look, no one buys recordings anymore. The don’t bring any attention to us, the Board, the most important part of this whole organization, so why should we bother? I mean, what’s a “Grammy Nomination?” That just sounds like a union plot to drive us further into the red.

So screw you. Nothing you say matters. Nothing you want matters. Bad press doesn’t matter. International outrage doesn’t matter. Musicians and Music Directors fleeing don’t matter. Politicians don’t matter. Blogs especially don’t matter. Carnegie Hall doesn’t matter. That chump George Mitchell doesn’t matter. Concerts don’t matter. The livelihood of the musicians doesn’t matter. The 110+ year tradition and reputation of the Minnesota Orchestra doesn’t matter. And you, you so-called “patrons,” you will never, ever matter.

Hear us loud and clear – we don’t care. It’s our way or the highway. If we don’t get our way on absolutely everything we will happily sink this ship, and once it hits the bottom of the ocean we will walk away and wipe our hands of it. Then we shall see who matters.


Your Board of Directors of the whatever.

Ps. You will shortly be receiving a phone call soliciting funds for the bright future we have envisioned at Orchestra Hall! Please be generous……. or not. That doesn’t matter either.

(*Note – This post is satire……. I think)

13 thoughts on “Dear M.O. Patron: Screw You.”

  1. Did everyone see the FULL PAGE letter the board put in Monday’s newspaper?! Holy God almighty! No wonder they’re broke.

  2. The clearest announcement of the MOA’s “Screw You, M.O. Patron” message is what they left out of their long-held-up-the sleeve card trick of flashing their “Independent financial analysis.” They left out any role for the community in the future of the orchestra. The citizens of Minnesota have given 110 years of empirical proof they have the will and means to support a great orchestra. The MOA has never seemed to see that, respect that, or ask for more help if it was needed. They have also given no vision for the future that inspires people to dip into their wallets to help the MOA accomplish their “Strategic Plan” for the orchestra.

    The only positive sign in this most recent ploy of the MOA to attempt to return to square one in the negotiating process is it proves they are running scared. They know very few knowledgeable people think they have a leg to stand on. They’re doing their level best to justify their actions with the numbers of their choosing and timing, and hide their true, original, independent-from-the-money intent of resetting the orchestra model, as evidenced by the continually overlooked, non-monetary 250 redlines they put in the contract. (See Drew McManus’s four-part Adaptistration blog “Examining the Minnesota Orchestra Redline Agreement” for fuller discussion of these issues.) IT. IS. NOT. ABOUT. THE. MONEY.

    If the MOA plan had any business merit and/or artistic vision, they should have used it to set up a new orchestra and prove its viability elsewhere. Instead they choose to tear down the cathedral that was the Minnesota Orchestra to lay the groundwork for a non-existent, as-yet unproven, unwished for, and unsupportable quonset hut replacement, built on the shaky and questionable foundations of their ignorance and arrogance.

    • Rolf – I agree that this isn’t about the money, but WHAT.IS.IT.ABOUT? Can this really be the acting out of a buch of bullies with massive inferiority complexes. I can’t think of any other answer

  3. Hmmm….not satire. The CEO and Board exhibit a mental state that no amount of rational blogging will repair. Time for a divorce.

  4. Satire is the highest form of wit, and you are brilliant. Thanks, Bill! The Board of Directors has no wit, nor fans, nor a leg to stand on! We want OUR ORCHESTRA back!

  5. Maestro Eddins, I’m sorry you had to write those words. They’re all too true. I have a feeling that the catharsis of writing this article is tapered by a tinge of sadness for the arts.

  6. Thank you for this post! Amazing that the board still takes itself seriously. So glad this situation is getting more and more (and more) attention – which it most definitely deserves.

  7. I hope you are all having fun here, while the orchestra, conductor, musician, board and audience relationships break apart irreparably. The old structure of board governed orchestras just does not work or, if it does, only temporarily. Why not try a structure that gives tall of interested parties equal influence and power: the cooperative model? William Neil.

  8. Oh. My. God. Bill. Eddins! I didn’t think it was possible to LAUGH at this situation and the Board and their arrogance, but you’ve managed to make me laugh. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Unfortunately, I think everything you wrote is true. Listening to Mr. Henson on MPR yesterday morning only re-affirmed it. My grandmother would say, “They’re talking out of both sides of their mouths.” You can’t believe or trust any of it. What surprised me was their distrust of the musicians — at least Mr. Henson’s. But then I thought of other dictators around the world and how afraid they are of the people gaining power (look at Syria right now), taking over, and then killing them. I think the Board clings to its power and unfortunately we have people on it that don’t get that they’re supposed to SERVE the orchestra, patrons, donors and community, not control them. Love you! Cinda

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