Ain't No Party Like a Grandpa Party

At least here in Saint Paul, our orchestra (the SPCO) is back from strike and playing. I had not realized how much I had missed them until we attended a free family concert today.

With corporate sponsorship, the SPCO has these events a few times a year. Often they are over in the rehearsal hall, and feature crafts and an "instrument petting zoo" and the like, plus a short concert. This one was actually over in the Ordway, and was targeted towards an older audience, with an educational narrative, some musical examples, and then a full movement from Mozart's 23rd Concerto.

The best part, though, is that we got to go with both grandpas! Grandpa Kenny was in town, so he and Grandpa Dennis came with us. Beatrix got to sit between the two grandpas for the concert, and then share some of her strawberry pancakes at brunch afterwards. Beatrix was so excited about this last night that she started calling it the "grandpa party," which kind of stuck.

I don't get to enough classical music — which I know makes me part of the problem that is affecting the industry. It was wonderful to enjoy the Ordway, and to remember being part of the first house staff to work there. The hall has aged gracefully, and the concert was really fun. Beatrix, who has just started playing violin, loved watching the strings and played along with the piano.

There's a whole political landmine I could step on with the current, one-year plus lock-out of the Minnesota Orchestra — and so I won't. My logic and feelings lie 100% with the musicians, and I am happy to discuss them with anyone in person. The economic issue that former governor Arne Carlson presented towards the economic importance of the orchestra the other day was compelling, as is of course the consideration of the role that the musicians play in our educational system here. But sitting in the hall today, the main reason I can make for the importance of classical music is completely emotional, how it makes you feel and sense and be. And for someone that relies on logic as much as I tend to, that's pretty compelling.


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