An open letter to Michael Brockman, and the board and musicians of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra

Dear SRJO Board and Musicians:

My husband and I, who are grateful donors and audience of Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, attended today’s pre-concert virtual get-together, and the (supposed to have been) live-streamed concert, and we noticed a few things.  First of all, at the Zoom meeting, when you were discussing the logistics of putting on the first concert of the truncated season, you used the phrase “what we are allowed to do”.  Now, I think you should all slow down and contemplate exactly what that phrase means.  Allowed to do, by whom?  And is that “whom” qualified to dictate to you and the group exactly how you must behave?

Think about it.  One man, in the State Capitol, “advised” by so-called Infectious Disease “experts” (who, by definition, are very narrowly expert in only infectious diseases and not public policy or economics), is essentially running your individual lives, and your orchestra.  One man, and not a very smart man at that.  That man is making up the rules of how you all are allowed to go about your lives, all day, every day; and he has been doing that for nearly a full year.  Are you prepared to act in the way you are required to, today, for the next four years?  Because that man has just been elected to do exactly what he has been doing for the next four years.

We enjoyed the concert, but we were somewhat saddened by the ridiculous conditions imposed upon you and the orchestra.  All the musicians had masks, but not everyone wore them whenever they were not playing, although some did.  I know that everyone was probably required to wear a mask every minute when not playing. so some of the musicians were breaking the rules.  You never wore a mask, so technically the musicians who did not wear masks when not playing were putting you and their fellows at risk.  And Randy at the piano was never wearing his mask over his nose, so he was breaking the rules, too, and putting everyone at risk.

However, in order to get on that stage in the first place, you all had to take a covid test and test negative, which you all did.  So, NONE of you should have had to wear a mask at all!  None!  Here you have musicians, camera-operators, and perhaps a sound tech, all of whom were required to test negative for the Wuhan Coronavirus before even being let into Benaroya Hall, still being required to wear (useless) masks and stay six feet away from each other.  Does that not sound a bit weird?  There was no way any of you could have infected any of the others, since you had already been proven NOT to be infected.  Think about it.  Long and hard.

Even the instruments had to wear masks!  Hubby and I got a good laugh out of that one.  You need to quarantine Jay’s flugelhorn, since IT was not wearing a mask!  And those instrument mask/mutes did change the quality of the sound, especially the one on the tuba.  And your poor band, having to stay away from each other, unable to really hear each other and become a real band.

In my opinion, you all should be prepared to have this kind of concert, essentially forever.  In my considered opinion, the Dictator in Olympia will not consider the pandemic over, ever.  Even when a vaccine is released, it may take one to two years or more for it to be “widely available, proven effective, and all the population vaccinated”.  Especially since a considerable proportion of the population has already stated that they will refuse to be vaccinated.

We will be sorry that the SRJO will be streaming its concerts over the internet for the foreseeable future.  How will the band like never performing before an audience?  And how will the band respond to essentially never performing together in groups larger than nine?  And how many of your audience and donors will stick around, if this is all they will be allowed to see?  We know that the SRJO audience is very dedicated, and will probably support you for a long time.  But there is a huge difference between watching the band on TV, and being in a real audience.

And if you think these strictures are onerous, just think about choral music. Michael’s wife, Betsy, often emails us about her group, the Northwest Chamber Chorus.  Will choral music ever be allowed to return?  So-called “social distancing” and mask-wearing are impossible for any choir.  No singing group will be able to get permission to rehearse or perform in public while the virus is still circulating.

Anyway, we did enjoy tonight’s concert and the pre-meeting, and we will look forward to the next one.  We will continue to support SRJO, even if we leave the state of Washington in search of Liberty.  In fact, as long as SRJO streams concerts over the internet, we can tune in from just about anywhere!  Maybe you should do some marketing in other regions-you might get a much wider audience.

Sincerely,

A grateful supporter, RushBabe49

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