The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Dec. 11 was a somewhat annoying evening for me, because there were two concerts I really wanted to see, and though I do struggle to lose some weight, I am not two people.
Now this happens on the job with some regularity. But this time, it was personal.
Both of my kids, who are currently attending different schools, had school orchestra concerts that night. So, my wife attended one and I attended the other. The next morning, I even got more grinched when I got a note from a friend saying my son had played a great solo … at the performance I missed. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed my daughter’s concert which showed off what a lot of ensembles at her school are doing, and I know my wife would have loved to have been at that one too.
I recall getting all blubbery one Sunday morning in the middle of Manhattan, where I was on assignment, when my wife called and held up the phone so I could hear my daughter sing a solo in church.
Like many parents, when my child is on a stage, I want to be there.
So it was interesting when I got home from vacation this week and found several notes saying I needed to read a column by an area mom and school official critical of school band concerts.
In TOPS in Lex magazine, columnist and Jessamine County Board of Education member Hallie Bandy wrote that she was happy she let her son leave his school band because that meant she would no longer have to endure the concerts. (Her column appears on Page 90.)
“Merry Christmas to me!” she concluded in a column that was derisive of everything from the musicianship to the clothing to the venues to the audience.
People who contacted me were far from the only ones upset. Response was so heated both Bandy and Tops publisher Keith Yarber issued statements of apology, Bandy writing, “I am genuinely saddened so many found my recent article in TOPS insulting to arts education. It was certainly never intended as such, and I am so very sorry many interpreted it in that light.”
Bandy says she writes a light-hearted column on family life, though her band concert critiques seemed quite sharp, and I hate to say I missed any clues between the lines to indicate, “Ha! I’m joking. I really love school arts.” The piece was also somewhat disturbing considering that as a member of the Jessamine County School Board, she is in a position to make very serious decisions about funding for programs like band and orchestra. She and Jessamine County School superintendent Lu Young said in the Jessamine Journal story that Bandy has been supportive of arts programs. But if you go sending a message that you consider these things to be of little value to your life, people will reasonably wonder if you’ll be inclined to make decisions that will allow them to be parts of other people’s lives.
And school music and arts programs are important parts of children’s lives.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich