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Classical 101

Minnesota Vikings $450 Million, Minnesota Orchestra 0

While the Minnesota Orchestra contract stalemate continues, the NFL's Minnesota Vikings are apparently set to receive at least $450 million in public money toward a new stadium.  The Minnesota Orchestra needs about $6 million to settle its deficit. I will grant you that the Vikings bring more fans downtown than the orchestra, but I will guarantee you that the orchestra's reputation carries much further and lifts the perception of the state of Minnesota far more than the Vikings.

Some state legislators have the attitude that "the orchestra, unlike football, is an amenity only for the well-to-do elite." Â Yet it costs substantially more to attend one football game than to attend a concert.

In addition, the orchestra's performance hall was recently renovated with help from $16 million in state bond funds. A hall which has yet to hear one note played.  One of the orchestra members put it very well when he said he had gladly paid the tax to help build Target Field for the Minnesota Twins, but that if they had then brought in a minor league ball club to play, he would have been upset.  The same holds true, he contends, with the renovation of Music Hall that this impasse may result in a minor league orchestra. Some may ask why Columbus music lovers should be concerned about Minnesota's problems.  Orchestras such as that one, the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, and L.A. Philharmonic, set the tone and the standard for the rest of the country, not to mention elevate our standing in the eyes of the rest of the world.  This country has done enough damage to its reputation without demonstrating that the Arts and Culture are not very high on our list of priorities. Read more: Leaders Look at More State Aid for Minnesota Orchestra (Star-Tribune) Watch: Minnesota Orchestra (above) play Sibelius from its Grammy-nominated recording