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What Bill Said…

Bill Eddins posted a great piece yesterday at Sticks and Drones about the New York Philharmonic’s decision to perform in North Korea. In a way that is so uniquely "Bill", he made a number of points that demonstrate the value of Occam’s razor in examining seemingly complex issues…

This is precisely what I
suggested back at the end of October when I posted something in
response to voices opposing the New York Philharmonic’s tour stop in
Pyongyang. I still firmly believe that music is a universal language
that transcends politics, bigotry, and centuries of other such learned
hatreds.

Bill’s piece
mentions the tours orchestras used to take to the former USSR and I
have distinct memories of living in the Washington D.C. area as a
teenager and going to hear some of the USSR national military bands
that used to come into town for cultural exchanges. At that time, I
used to study privately with a the principal tubist of the United
States Air Force Band, Bob Daniel (Ret.), and during one of my lessons
immediately following one of the USSR military band concerts I asked
him about his own experiences touring through the USSR with the USAF
Band.

He said the USSR
musicians were mostly just like the members of the USAF Band. On the
few occasions group interaction between members from both bands was
available, he said they swapped a bunch of military insignia trinkets,
talked shop, traded sheet music, and generally had a good time.
"They’re just like us," he said. As a child of the Cold War, that very
simple conversation went a long way toward getting my head above the
steady stream of propaganda and look at Soviet citizens, musicians in
particular, as something more than just "commies."

As such, unless
there are indisputable facts that support the conclusion that the New
York Philharmonic’s trip will directly support oppression, it is time
to trust that the universal language will begin to forge bridges across
rivers of misinformation and propaganda. As Bill wrote "God knows it may take a while but this can and will be a first step."

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