The Musicians’ Voice

Volume 112, No. 4April, 2012

The Musicians’ Voice is an open forum for discussion about the state of union affairs. The letters here do not necessarily express the views of Local 802. E-mail letters to or write to Allegro, Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. Letters must be no more than 300 words.

Disappointed with Paul Taylor
Using tape instead of live music is a real loss

I am very disappointed to hear that the Paul Taylor Dance Company is using recorded music at Lincoln Center where audiences are expecting to see and hear the absolute best that his company has to offer.

I have loved Mr. Taylor’s art since I first saw a live performance of his company in 1967. That is just about the time I joined Local 802.

I understand that there may be budget constraints due to loss of funding but surely the Paul Taylor Dance Company can create a budget that includes live music, which is so important to the spontaneity of his group’s performance.

It’s becoming more and more common for performers to delude themselves into thinking their performances to recordings are as spontaneous as those with live musicians. These performances are actually becoming stale and two dimensional and their audiences (whether they know it or not) are missing that crucial element of spontaneity that only comes with live musicians.

Over time audiences peter out as does the funding and before we know it another wonderful dance company is gone.

I’m hoping that Lincoln Center can help Mr. Taylor supplement his company’s budget to use live music at the Lincoln Center performances.

–Francesca Vanasco
The writer is a cellist and the director of Alborada Latina.

Remembering Wade Barnes

Wade Barnes (1954-2012) was a beautiful spirit deeply committed to bringing jazz to young people. His passionate perspectives on what was needed to create more opportunities for the music to live and be played and felt were wisely articulated at the Educational Committee meetings at Local 802 in which I participated.

I heard the music from his heart in his playing, in his wishes for more places to offer jazz and in his caring about nurturing young people’s hopes and dreams through the music – bringing jazz into their lives. His spirit will live on in them.

–Janet Lawson

Let’s hear it for public school music teachers!

I so enjoyed the article in Allegro by Brian Doherty about teaching in the NYC public schools. It is refreshing to hear positive stories about teaching and what a great experience it is to serve in the public school system. I have the good fortune to work with Brian and I know firsthand what a dedicated professional he is and how much he gives to the students. His work is unparalleled. Thank you for publishing this wonderful piece.

–Doreen Duff
The writer is an assistant principal at C.S. 66 in the Bronx.

I recently read the article “Return to Roots” in the February issue. As a teacher, I can relate to Mr. Doherty’s experience, struggles and success. However, this article was different than most concerning teachers. Finally, we have some good news – actually, great news. In these times of focus on high-stakes testing, math and reading scores we have lost sight of the human touch that is needed in education. Thank you for turning the spotlight on a program that seems human, tangible and connected to the world outside schools. This article proves there is hope for education reform beyond the numbers of standardized tests. Cheers to you!

–Paul Turci

I just read the article Brian Doherty wrote about his music teachings in C.S. 66 in the Bronx and was very impressed. We need more teachers like him who are so passionate and whose real world experience in modern music excites children. I know that when I was in school, if I was learning modern music and the guitar, it would have piqued my interest much more than just classical orchestra class ever could. My son is only 2 years old now, but shows a lot of interest in guitar, drums and piano already. I hope when he is older, he is in a school that has a program and a teacher like Mr. Doherty to really keep his interest going and give him the tools he needs if he decides to pursue music further. The arts will light creative sparks in our children in ways we can’t even imagine and we must continue to support them, even when times get tough.

–Kelly Brett