Fanfare for Manny Laureano

Manny Laureano is the founder of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies and the principal trumpet in the Minnesota Orchestra. We got to know him when our number two daughter played under Manny’s direction for five or six years in the MYS. He is a gentleman and a scholar as well as an American patriot whose political views were altered by 9/11.

Do you need to be a conservative to be disturbed by the intrusion of politics into orchestra performances? I should hope not. Guest artist Rufus Wainwright put the issue to those in attendance at the orchestra’s sold-out holiday show this past Saturday night. Among other things, Wainwright went into a rant attacking the Republican tax plan that had passed the Senate.

It’s not clear to me from the argumentative Star Tribune story whether Wainwright understood that no tax plan has yet been enacted. It’s not even clear to me what his objection to it is. Referring to the passage of the Senate bill, Wainwright announced: “It’s a call to arms. We have to fight for this country.”

Responding to Wainwright’s call, Manny decided to fight for the country in his own way. He picked up his trumpet, got up from his spot in the orchestra, and took a hike.

The Star Tribune quotes Manny on Wainwright: “He’s an angry dude that seems to have life all figured out, not the kind of guy we need to look to for philosophy.” Manny’s departure expressed the offense he took at Wainwright’s effusion: “I found it to be beyond the pale of what that evening should be about. It’s a time of the year we’re supposed to all come together.”

Manny promises to publish his own account of what went down at Orchestra Hall at his site (linked on his name above). I hope Minnesota Orchestra management can abide Manny’s modest dissent. He stood up for a lot of us who seek refuge from politics in general and ignorant political diatribes in particular at live musical performances.

UPDATE: Manny reports in “So…how was your day?”