Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Sour Note In Richardson

The City of Richardson supports the arts. Kinda. Sometimes. Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival opens Friday night in Richardson's Galatyn Park. There will be thousands of music fans attending concerts by the likes of the B-52s and American Idol finalist Casey Jones. This is a big effin' deal, to coin a phrase.

After the jump, the one sour note...

Because of all the good that is Wildflower!, it is so sadly ironic to read some embarrassing music news out of Richardson that is getting national attention today. The Richardson Symphony Orchestra, led by Anshel Brusilow, one-time conductor of the Dallas Symphony, has been weeks, sometimes months, late on payments to its musicians. When one musician went public with the orchestra's plight, Brusilow blamed the musicians: "People are starving to death and you've got a job, and you're a little late being paid so you're upset...well, wake up, get a life!"

One reader, commenting on the Minnesota Orchestra's "Inside the Classics" website, spells out just what a musician's life is like:

"The average annual income a section string player earns from the RSO is $2625 before taxes. They're allowed one sick day per season, receive no health insurance coverage, no 'mileage' payments for the long commutes many of the musicians must make from other cities in Texas, and the cost of insuring their instruments is their own."

The RSO's home is the Eisemann Center, that beautiful building in the heart of Galatyn Park, surrounded by the booths and stages and celebrations and crowds that are Wildflower! Inside, in the Eisemann's main performance hall, these professional musicians ply their trade. Many of the Wildflower! attendees will never set foot inside the Eisemann Center. (And, listening to Brusilow's tirade, many former patrons might never go back.) They will never hear the music coming from that stage from those unappreciated musicians. They don't know what they are missing. Maybe soon, no one in Richardson will. And that would be a sour note to all future Wildflower! celebrations.

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