Please explain how the campaign of lawsuits, petitions , rumors, innuendos, dead-out-of-the-gate proposals and eventual RPO boycotts which you have set out will improve the RPO's standing with the community at large and will help reduce or elimnate their curent debt.
STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO RAY GROSSWIRTH
MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE FOR RPO COMMUNITY SUPPORTERS
You say you are one of those who will continue to work toward the best interests of ex-Music Director Remmereit and that you will continue to harass the administration via a nuisance suit and force them to expend their limited resources. And you proclaim that that if your demands aren’t met you will cease to support the RPO.
A pity you didn’t spend some time thumbing through the writings of Gustave Flaubert. Had you done so you might have run across his famous aphorism, “L'homme n'est rien, l'oeuvre – tout” (The man is nothing, the work – all). Though not an exact analogy, in this present case we can consider Remmereit to be the man, and the continued existence of the RPO, the work. And you sir, and sadly those who think as you do, have come squarely down on the wrong side of the epigram.
That you claim to have identified 14 conspiratorial musicians in the orchestra who have slandered Remmereit (and by “slander” I suspect you mean that they haven’t sung his praises) reminds me of nothing so much as the claims by Tailgunner Joe McCarthy when he announced in 1950, "I have here in my hand a list of 205 State Department employees that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party”. That number later fluctuated wildly with McCarthy stating at various times that there were 57, or 81, or 10 communists at large. May we assume that your headcount of slandering musicians will likewise vary as new “facts” comes to light?
STATEMENT BY RAY GROSSWIRTH
MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE FOR RPO COMMUNITY SUPPORTERS
Those of us who work on behalf of Arild Remmereit will continue our efforts through legal channels, inspired by widespread community support. We believe that just as a contract can be severed, it can also be restored. Our efforts are driven by our love, respect and admiration for the maestro.
My relationship with the RPO extends over 50 years, and I have never seen a better conductor than Arild Remmereit, in Rochester or elsewhere.
Persons, who shall remain unnamed, have slandered and plotted against Maestro Remmereit from the very beginning of his tenure, and they should be ashamed of themselves. Now, that these same individuals have driven the maestro out of his position (a position that can be restored), they are still not satisfied. They continue to distort the findings of the Craviso report, such as stating in public that the results were negative about Arild, and positive about the CEO. I advise taking a closer look at reports about the CEO, whether it be the Craviso report, or other legitimate inquiries.
Thus far, I have identified 14 musicians in the orchestra who have slandered Maestro Remmereit in blogs, media reports, and via the plotting that took place behind the scenes. Some of this plotting, which still continues, involves the shunning of musicians who support Arild, which has caused a climate of fear, whereby supportive musicians are afraid to speak out. Hopefully, supportive musicians (there are many), will put their fears aside and speak soon. (We know from history that terrible events have happened when good people didn't speak, due to the fear factor.)
Obviously, Maestro Remmereit is devastated by all that has transpired. To add insult to injuy, the RPO shut off the maestro's phone and took his car. A few musicians continue to slander him, which equates to kicking a man when he is already down.
In consideration of the fact that such events described above could also happen with another conductor, I recommend the following: 1.) The presidet of the local musician's union should not also be a member of the orchestra; it represents a conflict of interest, especially when the president is also closely aligned with the orchestra's CEO. 2.) A conductor should never be micro-managed by the CEO and board chair; 3.) The artistic freedom of a conductor should never be hampered by plotting within the orchestra or via the politics of an elected board.
As stated above, I will continue to work toward the best interests of Maestro Remmereit. I am hoping our group's efforts will be successful, whether it be reinstating Remmereit or changing the manner in which board members are elected. If our efforts fail, I will sever all ties with the RPO. I am truly ashamed at what has transpired, and will no longer want to have anything to do with this orchestra if the powers-that-be drive a great conductor and a terrfic person out of town.
Larry Champoux, I'm not altogether clear on what "article" you're referring to which points to longstanding administrative difficulties at the RPO. The repetitive link you provided went to Ingrid Bock' s letter in praise of Remmereit and opposing his termination . I see nothing relating to longstanding difficulties. And that letter, like Doug Prosser's letter supporting the board's actions is, of course , merely the opinion of one orchestra member and simply provides us with their personal views on the situation. Given human nature neither letter can be taken as gospel and neither author can be accepted as speaking on behalf of anyone other than themself.
Chaim Deloye: read the comments at the end of the article which point again to longstanding administrative deficiencies at the RPO and support for Remmereit.
I am astonished that I am receiving supportive text messages and e-mails from strangers because of these few comments I have made on City's web site. RPO fans are nice people, many of whom just want to enjoy good music, but beneath that genteel surface there appears to be dissatisfaction with RPO that is fairly longstanding.
As time goes on, it seems that regardless of how one feels about Remmereit, unless there are some significant adjustments to the RPO Board and Staff, that this controversy will not abate. There is significant prestige that goes with being an RPO Board Member, but that donation is not admission to a private club. It is a work ticket. I would imagine that there is some social embarrassment to a Board Member that must resign for the sake of the organization, and that is a disincentive for the Board to face the hard facts. So we get stuck because of ego. But I believe that the RPO can find a graceful way for the transition to happen.
This controversy, as difficult as it is, especially for the Mr. Remmereit, is an opportunity to open dialogue within the RPO and larger community about securing the future of this organization. The enthusiasm that the alternate Board has brought to the discussion is precisely the vehicle that will enable that progress forward. Instead of feeling threatened by this tremendous energy, the RPO should be encouraging it. But that necessary dialogue, it seems, is not likely to happen with this secretive and insular current Board who has lost the confidence of not everyone, but of too many.
Larry Champoux, since City has already published a similar letter from that same musician four days ago I would assume that they will allow your link, no matter how repetitive it may be.
Nelson, my understanding is that some people did write-in alternate candidates. I don't know what the board did with those votes, however. All they did at the meeting was announce the winners, which were the eight board-backed candidates.
City News Editor
Can anyone who was at the RPO board election meeting the other evening explain what happened to the alternative slate of candidates? None of the local media reports which I 've seen tell whether the slate was introduced and voted down or whether it was not permitted to be introduced , or whether something else happened.
An important perspective from a musician if City News will allow the link:
I hate to say it but this will really damage Rochester's ability to get a truly outstanding new music director to succeed Remmereit. I don't want to get into a blame game but it is incredibly disappointing that this whole conflict and all its bloody details played out in the press.
So let me get this straight. First, despite the fact that you have been unable to provide evidence or even point to an instance of where the RPO board has mishandled the organization's operations (whether firing Remmereit is such an instance remains purely a matter of opinion) , you want our elected officials to acknowledge that there are "major problems" with the board 's management thereby endangering the RPO's public support.
And secondly, you claimed that, "the alternate Board has the best opportunity to save the RPO " ...yet you admt that you have no idea what their plans would be should they ever be in control (" I am excited to hear the plans that the... alternate board, will have to say about creating a positive future for the RPO".)
Back in the 1960s we would have called this a "credibility gap" .
Where is the evidence that this policy has "unintentionally lowered home values"? I sure haven't seen a drop in my assessed value, nor any loss of market value not directly related to the Great Recession. The city hasn't experienced an overall loss of assessed value from residential property. In fact, assessed values in high demand neighborhoods have continued to rise, offsetting losses in areas where demand for neighborhood schools was not a priority. Likewise the question of transience. Where is the evidence that there has been an increase (it has always been high in areas with a high concentration of rental property) and where is the evidence that School Choice has had anything to do with it? In fact, the Choice policy is in part a response to existing transience, allowing children to remain in the school even if they move (so long as they don't move out of zone).
I've heard since the beginning of people who used the "lack of guarantee" as their rationale for leaving (in one prominent example the family lived inside the .5 mile radius, and would unquestionably have gotten their children in at kindergarten - and then their younger children would have had the added benefit of "sibling preference" - as it turns out that was just the pretext for leaving the city). I also know of examples where families trusted that the system would work (a large family moved over the summer and not all the children could be placed at the new school at first, but after a short stint on a waiting list, and before the school year started, every child in the family had a seat in their new neighborhood school). As "rocparent" points out, the history of the Choice process supports some measure of trust that a choice for one's home school will be honored.
In the meantime, the concert tomorrow night is superb. Went Thursday...going again Saturday. So since all those on both sides of the issue presumably love the RPO, do something you can agree on: buy a ticket and enjoy beautiful music.
A different "Steve"
I was talking to mystery man "Steve," but I will quickly respond.
1. Yes, let's have a big, open dialogue. Unfortunately, Chair Rice is doing whatever she can to silence the alternate Board.
2. It seems that some Board members did try to do address major issues on the Board before resigning. Sometimes it is better to work on the outside than inside such a dysfunctional Board organization.
3. Elected representatives have a responsibility to ensure that tax dollars are spent appropriately. I do not advocate cuts, but I do think that our elected officials should acknowledge that there major problems in the current Board that raise questions about public support and confidence in the organization.
4. I am excited to hear the plans that the highly committed members of community, known as the alternate board, will have to say about creating a positive future for the RPO. So far we have no vision for the future from Rice and her supporters on the Board. But the current RPO Board is not monolithic or "evil."
Meanwhile Steve, who are you?
Larry Champoux :
As to the points you raised vis-a-vis Steve's post...
1. I notice that you did not also chastize those Remmereit supporters who have posted here anonymously. An oversight perhaps?
2. Perhaps instead those board members who resigned in a huff should have stayed on to fight the "good fight".
3. Why would an apathetic public suddenly spring to life and demand funding cuts simply because board members you dislike don't resign? Sounds more like you're advocating for that fine old Viet Nam war philospphy of " We have to destroy the village in order to save it.".
4. Your "alternate board" , had it been elected, would still have constituted a minority of the evil board which you believe is destroying the RPO. That aside, please list the SPECIFIC changes they would have proposed which would have saved the situtauon. By the way, if the funders and supporters have lost faith in the RPO doesn't it seem strange that the annual campaign is running AHEAD of last year?
Remmereit's conduct reminds me of Alphonse Daudet's play "L'Arlésienne" for which Bizet composed the incidental music . Because the main character is never seen in the play, Arlésienne has been used by the French to describe a person who is prominently (and sometimes voluntarily) absent from a place or a situation where they would be expected to show up.
1. How about given us your identity instead of hiding behind anonymity. There has been entirely too much Board secrecy and lack of transparency. Why must you contribute this problem?
2. I don't think the problem will go away until there are several Board resignations. That process should begin immediately, so we do not waste any more time.
3. You are right. Much of the public does not care about the RPO and that problem is getting worse by the minute, but the RPO receives a great deal of public (state and local) funds and if the Board does not respond with resignations, I suspect that pressure will be applied to public officials. After all, tax dollars are involved.
4. The alternate Board has the best opportunity to save the RPO at this point by enacting reforms and transparency that the current board seems incapable of. They have the enthusiasm and drive to return the orchestra to the "heights it has deserved." The public, audiences, funders and supporters have lost too much faith in the current Board for it to succeed.
Larry Champoux - Sorry, but I've never been a big believer in conspiracy theories.
There are no aliens hidden at Area 51...there was no shooter on the grassy knoll in Dallas ...there are no UN Black Helicopters flying over Ameriaca - Obama was not born in Kenya - and the Big Bad RPO Board did not sit down one afternoon and decide to distract attention from the organization's deficit by firing the Music Director they had hired only the year before.
Who is at fault is not going to do much at this point and since most people in the community (of 735,000 people, not the Rochester "elite") don't donate to the RPO, this is really an enormous battle over very small stakes. Hate to break it to you all, but it's true. Many people in this community have never attended an RPO concert because they don't like classical music and they never will. What we need now is a new conductor who get along with the Board and a Board that can get along with our conductor. The report suggests Remmereit was unfamilar with the organization of an American orchestra and being an artist, had an artist's tempermental judgment. This is simply fact as laid out in the report, not a criticism of Remmereit; artists are tempermental prefectionists; I know of what I write, okay? We must cut our losses, staunch the bleeding, reverse this ridiculous bickering over minor issues and return the orchestra to the heights it has deserved under Maestro Seaman.
Smith: You don't get it. The Board was more comfortable with gossip about the Musical Director than trying to secure the future of the RPO. It made them feel like they were really doing something, when in fact they were engaged in an enterprise of damaging the RPO further. They were NOT taking care of business and wasted much time in idle gossip about the MD. This was thoroughly mismanaged by Rice and she should take responsibility for her actions, because the largest failure in this story is hers.
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