Friday, July 14, 2006

Fade out

Salzburg rehearsal

Take another look at those photos accompanying the story on the RISD All-Star Band tour of Europe. Look more closely at those shots of musicians playing Mozart and Sousa. Prominently displayed on the folders holding the music is the name Brook Mays.

Brook Mays is a Dallas institution, selling band instruments, equipment and sheet music to schools and students since 1901. Now it's in bankruptcy, following a court judgment of $16.7M earlier this month for making false statements aimed at keeping customers from buying instruments from rival First Act.

As last school year ended, Berkner Band lost its Band Club President (full disclosure: I mean "L"), whose son graduated. Then, its long time head director moved on to head the Fine Arts program for the RISD. Then, the second director changed schools to be closer to his child. Now, Brook Mays, a name that's been around longer than the school itself, is at risk of disappearing, too. That's a lot of change to absorb in one summer break.

In a Dallas Morning News story, Brook Mays CEO Bill Everett said that the Dallas-Fort Worth area "has some of the finest instrumental music programs in the nation and some of the finest music teachers in the nation." Darn straight. Some things never change.