Strike Up the Music
Strings attached: I'm a member of the first violin section of the Houston Symphony. I also serve as Webmaster for the musicians' site at www.upbeat.org. I'd like to thank you for your article in the Houston Press ["Going Baroque," by Jennifer Mathieu, February 20]. It was refreshing to read a feature that so clearly articulates the problems the symphony is facing.
I particularly appreciated your comments about our conduct and professionalism during these negotiations, and the way you showed the human face of our orchestra throughout your article.
Sour notes: Classical music is my genre of choice, but the Houston Symphony has not convinced me that it has any more collective talent than one of the better high school bands.
Most worrisome is the attitude and teamwork. The audience does not notice the caliber of the instrument, but how the music is collectively expressed. Even as a soloist, expression trumps inherent tonal quality and chamber acoustics. Expression is ruined with a bad attitude, and a fancy fiddle won't fix that.
Paying the piper: It's amazing that a city the size of Houston should have a problem balancing the budget for its symphony. You'd think there would be a surplus, not a deficit.
Look at the money that is invested in the rodeo events, the football, basketball and baseball events, and the poorly planned and executed road construction projects that never seem to end.
Tens of millions of dollars have gone into the HOV lane projects that are used by less than 2 percent of the citizens. Couldn't a portion of that money have been better spent on an orchestra that currently receives national acclaim, or doesn't Houston care to be considered a cultural center?
For the size of the population, it's a travesty that a cut in musicians' salaries should be even a consideration.
Locking Up the Land
Private for the privileged: I just read your article on restricting access to Galveston beaches, and I hate to see that happen ["Line in the Sand," by Richard Connelly, February 13]. My co-worker and I were discussing things we did as kids that can no longer be enjoyed by our kids; hunting doves along the bayous near South Main and Fondren was one topic.
Near my house in Harris County, the bayous around the HP (Compaq) compound have No Trespassing signs, which seems a shame since green space is hard to come by in the Houston area. I suppose if I had money, I too would buy a weekend home in Galveston and would want to restrict beach access to the privileged few (myself and my family). The developments seem like more of a blight to me.
I also resent subsidizing federal insurance to cover these homeowners when the inevitable happens and Neil Frank's "Big One" blows through and turns it all into driftwood.
Gay Clubbing at Klein
Ducking an issue: I appreciated your article on the proposed Klein ISD Gay Straight Alliance ["Situational Ethics," by Margaret Downing, February 20]. By coincidence, I received an e-mail this morning from Focus on the Family, a right-wing extremist pressure group, urging its national membership to write or call the school administrators in support of their decision.
But in my view, the Klein ISD administrators are just hiding their heads in the sand, thinking the issues of teenage sexuality and gay/lesbian sexual orientation don't exist in high school.
Thanks for bringing more public attention to their dreadfully inept and incorrect policy decision.
Pivotal battle: My first reaction to this article was "How dare they?" I applaud Margaret Downing for covering the story and Marla Dukler for taking the initiative to stand up to the school board in the first place. It's sad, really, to see adults wielding such power against teenagers who want nothing more than to be accepted.
I wish Dukler luck and support her. This is a very important fight.
Name withheld by request
Towing the Line
Skewered at Skewers: A friend and I recently dined at Skewers Cafe & Grill for the first time, specifically because of this endorsement in the Houston Press [Cafe Capsules, January 23]: "It's also right around the corner from the Edwards Cinema on Weslayan, so you can have dinner, drink bargain wine and then take in a movie without moving your car. What more could you ask for?"
WRONG. Our car was towed and we were terribly inconvenienced. The restaurant would take no responsibility, and said it had no knowledge of the review.
If the Houston Chronicle had done this, you'd be all over it.
Step up to the plate and take care of your readers. You should be responsible for the message you communicate to the public.
Peggy McGee and Gena Pate
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