McClurg Jam

McClurg Jam

Friday, February 12, 2010

Culture and money

Posting Update!!!
I just received an interesting comment from the Lyric Opera folks. Please read the comments for their response. I appreciate hearing from them. I do wish them all the best success. Count me jealous.

I have been in a state of wonderment and dismay all at the same time over the new Kansas City Lyric Opera building now under construction in downtown KC.

Think of all that money going to what has become an elite expression of culture in KC. Excess money accumulated by Ewing Kaufmann by the genius of his business of pharmaceticals which has now completely left KC.

I have enough of my college junior year socialism left to find it a bit sad that so many people paid so much for pharmaceuticals to enable the excess to be eventually applied to an elite expression of culture that so few will imbibe.

On the other hand, popularity of cultural expressions are not solid grounds to stand on when "worthiness" is caluculated. Our own "Old Time Music" is not all that popular these days compared to other genre's of music. No benefactor of this music is about to build a new hall for our musical enjoyment.

Maybe I am just jealous? If only Ewing Kaufmann had been more eccentric and played the old time fiddle instead of pouring it into the Royals baseball team?

In spite of all this, I congratulate the Lyric on this acheivment soon to be realized. Maybe they will perform some fine choral works that will pull even me there. I can only hope. Maybe, just maybe, someday, fiddlers will perform there for some special occasion? Maybe they will bring in the humble folk musicians and allow the curtains to be parted for some down home music?

If this sounds unlikely, remember how Carniegie Hall has hosted myriads of folk musicians over the decades now? Maybe Tony Rice will play there someday?

Right now, I don't see much money in Old Time Music. Times are hard and are going to stay that way for some time. The strength of our music is in it's commoness. It survives because we survive. It's what we play and listen to. Usually for free.
So maybe there is hope.

The more we can play for others and expose more people to the simple joy it offers the more people will be drawn to it. This is a jewel we bear and it should be passed around freely.

So, again, I say that we must find venues for our music here in Kansas City. Is it true that Lawrence has more people that enjoy this music than we have in KC? No way.

Stop by and check out the Lyric Opera's website.
I would suspect most of us are music lovers who also have deep appreciation for numerous genres of music and perfomance. Personally, I don't get Opera. I like Wagner alot but thats about it. Now Choral works and performance is another of my great passions.

Philosophical and Economic disclaimer:
I am not currently a Socialist. Ewing Kaufmann was a genius Capitalist who made life in KC better for a lot of people. He made a lot of every day workers rich. His efforts on behalf of baseball were legendary. If his daughter wants to spend her inheritance in this way, so much the better. Free Enterprise creates possibilites for cultural expression that otherwise would perhaps not be expressed. So, overall I find great good in the Lyric Opera building. Still.....

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Scout -- what a great blog you have! It's a wonderful resource for all things related to Old Time Music. Thank you for creating such a resource.

    As someone who works with the Lyric Opera, I wanted to share some thoughts that might help reframe this issue:

    * The Lyric Opera is proud that we will be one of the core resident organizations performing in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, but the building is not owned by the Lyric Opera, nor will the Company be the sole producer of art in the facility.

    * The Kansas City Ballet and Kansas City Symphony will also perform in the Kauffman Center as resident organiations. The Symphony has a dedicated performance venue (it's the right of the two humps in the photo above), and the Ballet will share a space with the Opera.

    * The Kauffman Center is its own nonprofit entity (, with a staff and board independent of the Symphony, Ballet or Opera.

    * The Kauffman Center hopes to present touring and local presentations in addition to the work of the three resident organizations.

    * The Lyric Opera strives to be as inclusive as possible. You can see this commitment to be as un-elitist as possible in our programming (audience favorites like La boheme and The Pirates of Penzance), and our prices ($20 for any single performance or $10 for students). We also include English titles at every performance for those folk who are not fluent speakers of an opera's original language.

    As for having fiddlers perform with us? We do utilize violinists from the Symphony in our performances, but so far none of the operatic scores have called for a fiddle!

    Jim DeGood
    Director of Marketing
    Lyric Opera of Kansas City


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