• June 5, 2020

BAKER: The Case for a Local Orchestra - Odessa American: Local News

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BAKER: The Case for a Local Orchestra

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Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 2:57 pm

Music. Live Music. Live Classical Music. For many people it seems like a luxury. Something that is nice every once in a while, or something that other people enjoy. I believe live classical music is vital for life. For a meaningful life. For a fulfilled life. Oh sure, you can “exist” without live classical music, but you won’t be fully alive.

One of the reasons music is so universally accepted, practiced, and performed is that it has the ability to show us what is real. The reality of human struggle, triumph, sorrow, isolation, exhilaration, and so much more. A symphony orchestra is a unique organization. In one sense, the musicians come together and shed their differences in order to present a unified performance. In another perfectly real sense, it is the individual differences and personalities of each performer that make the performance authentic. A “collective individualism” characterizes a symphony orchestra in a way that other organizations can’t quite match. In an orchestra, everyone is aiming toward the same goal; a meaningful and life-changing experience for the audience and performers alike.

We are so fortunate in West Texas to have such an organization. For 57 seasons, the Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale has given meaningful and life-changing experiences to our community. Professional musicians have performed the greatest musical works the world has ever known, right here in our community.

I have been the Co-Principal Trumpet in the orchestra for 14 years, and each year I am amazed at the professionalism and artistic expression the ensemble achieves. This month the orchestra was scheduled to perform Gustav Holst's masterpiece, The Planets. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the remainder of the season had to be cancelled. It is the first time in the history of the organization that a concert was cancelled. Throughout the economic booms and busts, the orchestra has always been here for West Texans, and now it is time for us to be here for our symphony. Even though the concerts had to be cancelled, the executive committee decided to pay the musicians what they would have received if the shows had been performed. I have friends and colleagues in orchestras across the country, some in major metropolitan areas, who were not offered payment for cancelled shows. We should all be proud of our orchestra's leadership.

I ask you to consider purchasing a season subscription and making a donation via mosc.org to support this worthwhile organization. Your continued support during times like this ensures that the music will play on long after we are no longer in the seats.

Odessa, TX

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