When I became editor in 2014 and started this column, I thought the title was a nice play on the name of the newsletter, as well as a nod to my inherent embarrassment at speaking out. I thought it would appear in every issue, like the Chairperson’s Report.
Instead, it has more often served my other editor’s purpose: making everything fit exactly into an even number of pages. Some DTM columns were merely padding in which I briefly discussed the other articles in the issue; others never came to be despite ideas I had for things to say, because when it came time to lay out the issue, there wasn’t any room.
So indulge me in this brief exhortation—since this is my last DTM. We stand on the precipice of a brave new world—in the sphere of orchestral music as much as in other relevant spheres, such as the labor movement. Our society is rent by division, in which we cannot agree on basic facts such as who won the last presidential election. We live in a world in which millions of people cannot be bothered to inconvenience themselves by wearing a mask over their mouths, and a white police officer can calmly murder a black man in broad daylight by kneeling on his neck.
In such a world, our music is more important than ever, as it heals and unites. It is vital for our communities. And we must get the message of its vitality to donors, audiences, and communities.
We all know the value and importance of working towards a collective goal. An orchestra is the embodiment of that, the metaphor so obvious that it is a cliché. But we cannot rely on just a few of us to carry that burden. We must be willing, each of us, to serve on a committee, to write a post for the orchestra newsletter, to play a community outreach concert. We cannot merely put all our effort into our instruments and hope the music speaks for itself.
To my esteemed colleagues on the Governing Board, who have been answering this call for many years, but especially this one, I extend my gratitude.