Saturday, February 12, 2005

Interlochen Encounter

At Adaptistration, Drew McManus has been chronicling management and staff issues at the music department of the Interlochen Academy of the Arts.

On my way to Disney Hall last week, I passed by the Colburn School of the Performing Arts, which is just about catty-corner to Disney. A friend of mine studies piano there with Ory Shihor, so I peered in the windows to take a look. To my surprise, a woman inside the lobby peered back at me.

I stepped in, and we shook hands and introduced outselves. It turned out she
didn't work there.

She was from Interlochen and was there with a musical group. She was waiting for the bass player. I smiled and she said "Oh, you've heard of Interlochen?" I should have said, "Of course, since I was a kid - I'm a musician."

What I actually said was, "I understand there's been some controversy there recently."

"How did you hear about it? The L.A. Times?"

"Drew McManus's blog."

"He's certainly very...VOCAL. The people who were here in the past remember it fondly and like how things were done then, but there's a need for change now. And things are not quite how he says."

I smiled again and said it had been nice to meet her, and that's more or less where the conversation ended. I wish I'd said a little bit more:

It's not change that's the problem. The problem is how it's being done: from the top down, without enough consultation with interested parties like the faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and thus without their support. The press reports sure sound as though long-time faculty members are being treated with little respect, and that's a problem.

The whole process, or non-process, is going to result in much unhappiness, not to mention quite a bit of very bad publicity.

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