At this point, few things trigger my rage at the Minnesota Orchestral Association. Lying about fiscal stability in front of the state legislature? Sure, whatever. Old news. Shrugging at the potential loss of all their principal players and world-renowned conductor? Yup. That happens. Completely ignoring important patrons and donors? Par. For. The. Expletive-Deleted. Course. I mean, of course the lockout upsets me – hence the year’s worth of obsessive writing - but it no longer makes me want to start throwing suitcases around in a fit of incoherent rage like the American Tourister gorilla.
But I swear, my suitcases were in serious danger the other night.
It was right before bed. It was late. I was doing a favor for some friends and looking up a domain name for an organization they were thinking of launching. But it turns out, the name they were curious about wasn’t available. Someone else had bought it. And it was a really absurdly specific one, too: saveourminnesotaorchestra.org.
Out of curiosity, I checked the owners. And my mouth dropped open.
And I looked at the date and I started hurling screamed expletives out the open window.
In case you’re just joining us, THE LOCKOUT DIDN’T START UNTIL OCTOBER 2012.
Why SaveOurMinnesotaOrchestra.org? Well, I found out the next day that in the spring of 2012, Michael Henson took a jaunt to Detroit to discuss shared challenges with the management team there. One of the shared challenges? An uppity audience. The rabble-rousing done by members of Save Our Symphony rubbed their management team the wrong way, and it seems the Detroit management might have had a word with Mr. Henson to be on the lookout for a sister organization forming over here. I have a hard time imagining that the Detroit trip and this domain name shopping spree were unconnected.
So. While you were attending the last show in the old Orchestra Hall – earnestly cutting checks for the Building for the Future campaign – flipping through your shiny brochures for the 2012-13 season – the Minnesota Orchestra was spending money (presumably, your money) in a concerted attempt to buy a domain name relating to “saving the orchestra.” (Implication: they knew a big persuasive chunk of people in the future would view their actions as destructive, and they knew they had to guard against those people.)
Oh, but wait, you say. Yes, this sounds awful, initially, but maybe the MOA wanted to keep the name on hand for a fundraising effort!
Nope. Wasn’t done for a fundraising effort. Want to know why I know?
BECAUSE THE MINNESOTA ORCHESTRAL ASSOCIATION BOUGHT UP ALL THE FOLLOWING DOMAINS, TOO. And I have the screenshots to prove it.
Yes, on May 24 and May 25, 2012 (2012!), they bought all those domain names, anticipating the moment when the audience would connect with Save our Symphony in Detroit and unleash pro-musician havoc into our corner of the world. If it was for a fundraising campaign, they should have chosen one or two and stuck with them.
I don’t know the MOA’s side of the story since the MOA doesn’t reply to me, and never will reply to me, except to tell me to shut up. In the immortal words of Michael Henson in a closed-door donor meeting that one of my readers was at: “Blogs are senseless and must be ignored.” Maybe at some point the MOA will speak to the mainstream press about this. But until the MOA explains what the heck is going on here, do you want to know what this looks like?
This looks like deliberate, predatory domain buying meant to outwit and irritate angry patrons and donors.
This looks like the MOA colluding even more intensely with Detroit than we’ve been led to believe.
This looks like the destruction was premeditated and preordained from the beginning. From BEFORE the beginning.
This looks like the MOA didn’t just want to pick a fight with musicians.
This looks like the MOA wanted to pick a fight with their patrons.
[insert your rage here]
Well. You know what, MOA? If you thought the following scenario was ever going to play out, you’re even more fricking delusional than I thought…and as you know, I think you’re pretty fricking delusional already.
Minnesota Orchestral Association: Institutes major work stoppage
Public: Gets angry
Minnesota Orchestral Association: Does nothing
Public: I will not STAND for this anymore! In fact, I feel so strongly about this that I’m going to investigate putting my extremely valuable time, energy, and money into an organized effort to amplify the frustration of the community!
Public: Oh Noez! My first choice name for a group was picked! I’m going to give up now!
Obviously that scenario never did play out, and never will play out.
And amusingly, for all their apparent concern over Save Our Symphony in Detroit, the MOA missed the most obvious domain name of all: Save Our Symphony Minnesota.