On August 1, 2007 my grown children and I left the Twin Cities to perform for and participate in a birthday celebration the following day for my Mother in Washington, D.C. As we practiced at a neighbor of my sister’s where we were staying (they had a piano) we were interrupted by very puzzling and horrifying news reports of a bridge collapse in the Twin Cities. We rushed to a computer but the internet connection was extremely slow, and it was difficult to even get photos or information about the event. We were stunned — this is the bridge we used regularly to go from my house to my childrens’ homes. I had been on the bridge a day or so earlier. I recalled that there was a lot of equipment in the middle of the bridge. It seemed very strange at the time, but obviously, some repairs were needed. But this was almost unthinkable — that this huge high bridge had just collapsed into the Mississippi River. But there it was. http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/08/01/friday-marks-7-years-since-i-35w-bridge-collapse/ We were able to confirm that family and friends were ok, but were severely shaken by the event and the fact that we were so far away and unable to be of help if needed.
The birthday celebration went well and we returned to Minnesota a few days later, early in the day. I whispered a prayer that our landing pattern would be over the Minnesota River on the parallel runways at MSP, but no, we began our descent into the Twin Cities in a path that seemed to deliberately target the mangled bridge — and there it was, twisted and ripped apart, vehicles scattered like children’s blocks, in the river. By then we knew of the lives lost, the many injured, the children on the yellow schoolbus who had been miraculously able to escape. The frustration and sadness were almost overwhelming.
A few years later Mr. Vanska, of the Minnesota Orchestra, who lived near the bridge, wrote a piece about it. It was premiered by the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Mr. Schrickel: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2008/05/16/bridgemusic. The piece was extremely well-received and undoubtedly helped to cement Mr. Vanska’s connection to the people of Minnesota.
Move forward to the MO lockout, which, in addition to the horrendous need for dignity and fairness for the players, also may have had a tangential connection to me and my family. So, in hopes of providing an explanation to my children about events that happened some time ago on the stage at Orchestra Hall, where I was encouraged to practice on the darkened stage by a clique of players who happened to be of ill-intent, I wrote to Mr. Vanska and asked to be heard. I wrote that letter on August 1, 2013. There was no reply. A family member happened to have a connection to a colleague of Mr. Vanska’s. I had asked for their help to make sure my letter got to him but they declined, saying they ‘didn’t want me to use their contacts.’ A few days later a freak storm hit our neighborhood, incurring over $4M worth of damages — another odd coincidence.
So here I am today, as what I call “Minnegeddon” plays itself out. It is yet another August 1st. We are preparing a video called “Out of Night and Fog”, and getting ready to begin our “Locked-Out” concert series — probably runouts to various places. Who knows what twists and turns this coming year might take? 😉
Well here we have another lockout, of sorts, as Orchestra Hall has been dark since March because of CV-19. The players have to play from home, and the events supposed to have been rescheduled have yet to be, as this scourge drags on.