Every job from the heart is, ultimately, of equal value. The nurse injects the syringe; the writer slides the pen; the farmer plows the dirt; the comedian draws the laughter. Monetary income is the perfect deceiver of a man’s true worth. ― Criss Jami
Labor Day has a way of getting lost in the shuffle – the end of summer, the beginning of the school year (back in the day, at least), the last day of the Fair…. At times we forget to honor Labor Day and the Who and Why of the cause we celebrate on the First Monday in September. This year in particular we need to think about the dignity, as well as the paycheck, of working people of every trade, profession, and line of work.
Here’s one of many brief histories of the rights of laborers and origin of Labor Day as a national holiday.http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day A contemporary piece, written by Colette Hyman, was published in MinnPost last Friday.(https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2017/09/working-workers-about-folks-who-brought-us-weekend)
Since Labor Day has become just another free day from school it’s an opportunity to explain why we have a holiday so early in the new school year – try this: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/970075/teaching-your-kids-about-the-meaning-of-labor-day
In the past week I have spent four days at the Great Minnesota Get-Together – excessive, perhaps, but educational and inspiring. As always, frequent visits to the Labor exhibits are a feature of my days. Listening to a mix of exhibitors I learn about the variety of missions, challenges and aspirations of the various unions represented – I love the stories, the swag, and the energy generated by the mix of union spokespersons. There are always stories I want to share!
This season I learned about the Twin Cities Musicians Union, with focus on the story of the ways in which the talents and time of Union musicians result in the SPCO’s Listening Library. As many listeners know, the digital Listening Library offers access to 250+ full-length works. The Library is recognized as “the most expansive online listening library in the world.” https://content.thespco.org/music/concert-library/
As I thought about the story told by the representative of of the Musicians Union who was staffing the exhibit I realized that what I too often lose in listening to the music is the story of the musicians themselves. Though many audience members know the stories and the musicians, I’m thinking that we who are more casual listeners, we who depend on the Listening Library, are less aware of the musicians – but we can begin to be more aware by reviewing their brief bios: https://content.thespco.org/people/orchestra-musicians/
For those who can’t make it to Labor Day at the Fair, this would be a good day to relax and listen to beautifully recorded concerts featuring SPCO musicians, soloists and guest artists. Better yet, learn about the music by reading the published program notes – then sign up to be added the mailing list to receive announcements about future recordings.
Your Labor Day listen to the talented members of the TC’s Musicians Union will make you more aware of and thankful for the talented musicians who interpret the music that reaches our less trained ears….
Since it’s Labor Day you might want to read and think a bit about the long and recent history of the labor relations as they continue to evolve within the Minnesota music world. Here are a couple of starting points:
More Than Meets the Ear, by former SPCO member Julie Ayer, is “the story of a grassroots movement that transformed labor relations and the professional lives of U.S. and Canadian symphony musicians.” The book offers an “unprecedented overview of the profound effect the musician’s labor movement has had on the profession.” https://julieayer.com
Doug Grow writing in MinnPost piece describes and interprets the labor disputes with both the SPCO and the Minnesota Orchestra. https://www.minnpost.com/arts-culture/2015/04/two-lockouts-two-outcomes-joy-minnesota-orchestra-continued-rift-st-paul-chamber
Happy Labor Day and Thank You to Minnesota’s finest musicians and those who enjoy, appreciate and support their contributions to our world!