Why we need a new press corp

This kind of article makes me crazy:

Folks everywhere — in top rags, mags, and blogs — have been tolling the death-knell of classical music for some time now.

And their concerns are real.

Orchestras and opera houses everywhere are fiscally feeble, and many have gone under: Witness the demise of Savannah’s orchestra in 2003, not to mention our own Charleston Symphony’s recent near-collapses.

Classical radio stations are an endangered species. Decades of educational neglect have left entire generations largely ignorant of the classics.

But then, after a headline that reads "The Great Classical Die-off? Chucktown bucks the trend," the writer delivers the "we’re all right Jack" message:

So, how is all this playing out here in Chucktown? Very well, I’d say, compared to most communities our size. The key to classical viability is exposure — and around here, that’s been mostly thanks to Spoleto.

As local crowds (40 percent of total box office) gradually caught the beauty bug, cultivating the longer attention spans and deeper concentration the classics require, the demand for quality local institutions arose — and now we have one of the nation’s finest regional orchestras.

Praise be, the local business community has rallied behind them lately, promoting the CSO as a vital community asset — resulting in its best long-term survival prospects in years. Relaxed dress codes and chatty mini-lectures between pieces are helping them to bridge old gaps and attract younger crowds. And their fabulous educational program is introducing more schoolkids to the classics than ever before.

Our Spoleto-induced hunger for chamber and choral music is well-satisfied these days too, thanks to (among others) moonlighting CSO musicians, a burgeoning music program at the College of Charleston, and several outstanding church music programs. Outfits like the New Music Collective keep the hardcore avant-garde faithful happy. North Charleston’s Magnet School of the Arts is one of the nation’s finest.

So let the cultural pundits yammer on: Many problems remain, and we must keep the ideas and solutions flowing. But, from the perspective of my nearly two decades back home in Charleston, our own classical scene has never been better.

And that’s a trend we can never stop working on.

The alternative explanation (and the one that Occam’s Razor would produce) is a simpler one. How about "Classical music is adapting very nicely, as events in Charleson demonstrate"? That wasn’t so hard, now, was it? Too bad the truth just isn’t as interesting as are fables.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: