So… how was your day? A Summation.


What is it they say? Oh, right… “May you live in interesting times.”

Look… I did something that was fairly unusual for one of our concerts, especially a Pops-type show, so, it’s not like I didn’t understand there would be consequences of varying types… but, y’know… there comes a point where you can’t sit and bear it. I decided to take part of my early morning so interested parties could have the story or my story, anyway, and take it for what it may be worth, so, here goes.

This guy, Wainwright, is not someone whom I knew anything about until he showed up for rehearsal. I figured our director of Presentations had to know he has a big following of loyalists and that’s why we presented him, because we would have a big crowd. I think that’s great and our recent surplus proves these strategies to be the right ones. I’m saying all that to establish that I had no ax to grind with this guy. I didn’t know him from Adam. I even went to my ultimate source for such things, the musicians of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies, and asked them about him. They had no clue other than he has a famous cover of “Hallelujah” from the movie Shrek. Okay, sounded like a one-hit wonder with a following. My assumption turned out to be wrong but that’s how I went into it.

The rehearsals were fine, as he didn’t do any of his between-tune-audience chats. When he got to Cantique de Noel I was actually happy to hear him do it in French. I was less than happy when he 1) made it clear that he was only going to sing a Christmas tune because he was asked to (thanks for sucking it up and doing us the favor), 2) made a big deal about what a hero he was for singing it in a higher key and 3) decided it would be fun to translate the text so that they would have a double entendre that had as a punchline something about “falling on your knees for deliverance.” Funny guy. I was not among those that found it cute. Fine. I let it go.

The second half was the problem. Before the second tune in which I had an extended solo he found it necessary to rant about the recent and unfinalized tax bill. He was very upset about it and talked about Republicans as being “horrible people that had to be stopped” to the bravos and delight of his followers.

So, I stopped.

Contrary to what Chris Riemenschneider wrote in the Star Tribune  I made no gesticulation. I don’t know what he thought he saw other than my securing hold of my horn, turning, and leaving. Hell, I don’t even think I “stormed”. My knees can’t take much storming these days.

Two other trumpeters were in the lounge, as they weren’t playing that piece and I told them to get on stage because I had had it and was leaving. They had heard the rant over the lounge speakers and understood quickly what was happening and got on stage. The woman playing second trumpet, bless her heart, played my solo and everyone did a great job, as I knew they would. The context that’s important to understand is that I was in the position of playing a tender solo after being referred to as basically evil. No, thank you. Therefore, for the folks that think this was some planned event, it was not. It was as spontaneous as that. Remember, no one knew what his on-stage chats with the public were going to be.

Allow me to briefly address a few things. After this whole thing blew up and I was home, I decided to go on the various search engines and social media sites to see what this guy was all about. It turns out he had a rough childhood and some very serious drug use later on. I believe he has resolved what seem like the many issues he has dealt with and he is the place he wants to be. Good for him. It’s not easy to deal with bad things whether at the hands of the universe or self-imposed. Why didn’t I do that earlier? Well, buckle up but I actually never found myself thinking about this guy before the gig other than the times I was around people I could just ask. I didn’t think about him any more than he felt the need to think about me. In fact, I think neither he nor his arrangers thought much of the musicians having to play some of the poorest-written stuff I’ve played in a while. I don’t mean musically, I mean it was very difficult to read and led to wasted time in rehearsal. Scrawling everywhere and multiple parts on one line printed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper instead of the standards we’re used to.

From reading various comments it’s clear people expect us to know what to expect from the artists that come to perform. Somehow, we’re supposed to know who’s edgy and who isn’t. Sorry but we all don’t. Older musicians just aren’t up on the lifestyles of  niche artists just as many younger musicians might not know artists of an earlier generation. I can tell you this: it’s the first time in my memory of 37 years as principal trumpet that I can remember a political rant during a December show from either direction. I do remember Mitch Miller ending a show with a plea for people to support the arts from the stage that ended with a political rant veering to the left instead of just staying on point with a positive message about the importance of coming to concerts. It was the last time Mitch conducted a concert here. I was to the center left back then and remember putting my head down and thinking, “Mitch, don’t do this.” He did and that was that. I don’t claim to know that’s what ended his run here but I have to wonder if they got letters (remember those?).

The last thing I’ll address is the new “snowflake” moniker and the self-indulgence of one or both acts, so, for clarity’s sake I looked it up to see what the accepted definition is:

ˈˌself ənˈdəljənt/
  1. characterized by doing or tending to do exactly what one wants, especially when this involves pleasure or idleness.

    I did what I wanted. Check.
    Neither pleasure nor idleness was involved.

    I can’t speak for the singer. I can’t imagine he was speaking out of pleasure because the unfinalized tax bill allegedly had him very upset. I’m pretty sure he got pleasure from the assembled choir of loyalists applauding his hateful statement but again… that’s just my perception. You’d have to ask him. Anyway, there’s the definition and I’ll leave it to you to decide what you wish about both our actions.

    Snowflake or not… I’m not sure, either. If someone confronted me on the street or somewhere I had equal footing, I would not look for a safe space. I would engage. I suppose I felt at a disadvantage since he was not talking to me but, rather, about me without any way to respond and have the same audience hear the response as you would have, say, at a lecture with a Question Line at the end. Anyone who actually does know me knows that I enjoy a good talk about pretty much anything as long as they’re ready to listen as much as they speak. I didn’t shout the guy down nor did I  interfere with his playing because I provided better-than-adequate substitutes for myself in my absence. His 1st amendment rights were in no way diminished. He had his say. I had mine in the only way I could at the moment and am ready to deal with the consequences.

    I fully understand there will be consequences. Some of the Strib comments suggestions ranged from jail time to firing to a 10 concert suspension without pay. The Association has written in support of the visiting artist. My support will have to come in the form of believing what I did was right if not contractually appropriate.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it answers question you may have had.


    Props to Chris Riemenschneider for giving me a chance to explain myself. If I have a criticism of the piece it’s that it treats the visiting artist with more deference. That is, my part of the goings-on were painted as more extreme than his. What, to him, seemed innocuous was more offensive to me (and others not acquainted with Wainwright’s act). Critics have to call it as they see it at that moment.



79 thoughts on “So… how was your day? A Summation.

  1. dqbaker

    I applaud you for doing this. I was front row in the audience of a Loudon Wainwright concert at the Musical Instrument Museum this October when he performed his anti-Trump “I Had a Dream”. He harangued a President Trump supporter farther down my row with “You won’t like this” before starting to sing. I wanted to leave, get down on a knee in protest, or at least ask for my money back. I had never heard of that song, and was expecting his “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” type songs! What was scary was that all the other people around me–and most of the audience–gave him a rousing standing ovation at the end of the song. So I did nothing, but in retrospect, I wish I had.


  2. Manny,

    I appreciate your explanation here. Your points are valid. That being said, many artists/performers find that the most expedient way to express their opinions and beliefs is on stage. However, regardless of whatever support he had in the Hall, I don’t think it was the appropriate time or place for his remarks. You do have a right to express your displeasure, I just hope that your departing from stage during a performance will not result in serious actions from the MOA. God knows you and your esteemed colleagues have been to Hell and back. I respect your artistry and your dedication to education. I don’t agree with you politically, but I have chosen to put that aside in the interest of being respectful. (You are quite possibly the only Republican friend of mine on Facebook.) I find the headline of the Strib “review” distasteful, as much of journalism is these days. It’s all “click-bait” now, full of hyperbole and one-sided views. Please know that I care what happens as a result of Saturday’s concert, I hope you can convince the public at large of your right to respond to hateful speech in the only way that you could in that moment.

    Sincerely, Erika Sacks-White


  3. Bill Ham

    Bravo for standing up for your beliefs. Had I been in the audience, I too, would have left. Never let the socialists, masquerading as “Progressives” force their will upon us.


  4. laurie eibensteiner

    Bravo to you, Mr. Laureano. It is about time that someone stood up to these egotistical artists’ partisan rants before a captive audience. Thanks for your actions!


  5. Allison

    Thank you. Thank you for showing that we’re tired if being disrespected, and even more, of being assumed to agree with the zeitgeist. I’m tired of the assumption that all the audience is a monolith of opinion, that there’s only one correct opinion put there amongst “the educated” folk who appreciate art.

    I love music, and I love supporting musicians, whether classical, or jazz, or pops, or bluegrass. I don’t ask them to vote my way. I just wish they would stick to playing and singing.

    Thank you for your silence giving us a voice.

    But your explanation–it’s sweet, but it’s unnecessary. You shouldn’t have to explain. It should be clear that music is for all of us, of any political persuasion, and diatribes have no place there.


    1. Daniel Schwartz

      An excellent point!

      Here’s a thought, for performers inclined to do this in the future…

      Do you, in fact, assume that most, if not all, of your audience agrees with the zeitgeist? If not, why are you choosing to insult some percentage of your paying customers? And if you do assume it, then why are you preaching to the converted?

      If you want to deliver a sermon, find a place where people are expecting that. If they’ve paid to hear music, then you are not providing what they paid for.


  6. JimNorCal

    Thank you, Manny.
    I am a California audience member sick of being lectured from the stage … to the point that I rarely attend performances anymore.
    To any performers reading: consider-half your potential audience is constantly on the alert for insults.


    1. Alison D.

      Mr. Wainwright ‘s conscience matters as much as Mr. Laureano’s. Plus, he was the reason people came to the concert. He had the stage, Mr. Laureano did not. Whether one supports the tax bill or hates it should not even be a consideration – Mr. Wainwright had the audience’s attention and accolades and Mr. Laureano was essentially a back-up musician. In this situation I believe Mr. Laureano should forfeit his pay for this concert and return to his duties without further reprimand. I am a fan of Mr. Wainwright and a long-time MN Orchestra subscriber. I value the talents of both artists.


      1. Jeff K

        Was Mr. Wainwright hired to perform or editorialize? Did the audience attend and pay for a performance or a political rant? Mr. Wainwright should refund his fee and not be invited back.


      2. TrickleUpPolitics

        So, you think it was appropriate for Mr Laureano to insult Americans who do support the tax bill on stage at a Christmas concert? You are part of the problem.


      3. Tobye Pierce

        Mr. Wainwright is welcome to his conscience, but he was hired to entertain at a musical event. This is not an appropriate venue for him to hijack in order to lecture a captive audience on his political views. If it had been a lecture, and people were paying for his opinion, that would be a completely different scenario. Add that fact to his lack of concern that said audience may or may not be interested-or offended-by what he had to say. This attitude is destroying the entertainment industry. Music should be a universal experience that brings people together in a shared experience. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Wainwright has shown such contempt for the audience and the musicians that supported him.


      4. Judith O’Donnell

        Politics should have no role at a holiday concert where establishing “good will” among all people should be the foremost consideration.


  7. My $.02

    So glad that you took a courageous stand. It was the right thing to do and it will send a strong message. Blatant, disrespectful commentaries like Wainwright’s need to be called out.


  8. Doug

    As much as I love the music of the Boss I left a Bruce Springsteen concert during his rant. I came back in when he went back to the music. I pay for them to perform and not stump rant

    Good for you Manny


  9. Stephen K. Bottom

    A well-reasoned explanation. Your reaction was more appropriate than his actions. I personally believe that political rants are for the political arena, not the performance hall. You have my full support.


  10. michael kerr

    Bravo! You give me hope and courage. I am tired of “waiting for the sucker punch”. My wife and I use the term to describe what happens to us, as conservatives, whenever we are enjoying a supposed entertainment program. Invariably, stuck in the middle of every movie/performance/concert will be a gratuitous swipe. Pure self-righteous, arrogant, moral preening. I am tired of just rolling eyes and accepting it, and in honor of your courageous act I will follow and immediately stand and remove myself from any performance that allows such actions. I doubt performers, stuck in their virtue-signal bubble, will take the hint but most concert venues have accountants who can do math.


  11. Nan thompson

    If I want to go to a political opinion lecture I will do so. I don’t want, expect or deserve that at a concert. People who the unfair advantage of a captive audience deserve to be called out.

    I got a kick out of “stormed.” I kept seeing thunder and lightning as you flew. I know you have Powers, but you usually use them for good. [Grin] I wish time riemenschneider had chosen words a little more carefully.

    Go you.


  12. Paul Folin

    Bravo to you Manny! I pay good money to attend a musical performance, not hear a personal political opinion from the stage. I hope the orchestra management begins to recognize their entire audience may not agree with a person like this Wainwright. I have already dispensed with watching any television network news, morning shows, late night shows, or anything ABC, CBS or NBC create for these very reasons. I saw where Jimmy Kimmel basically said he did not want or need Republican viewers. I hope that the Minnesota Orchestra places value on their Republican concert goers and financial supporters or they will slowly vanish. All they need to do as ask the artist to not talk about their political views. Is that too much to ask?


  13. Have you seen NFL stands lately? Politics has no place at a football game or a concert. Voting with your feet (leaving) is the correct response.

    Any respectful and grateful person would know enough to check personal animus and political virtue-signaling in the green room.

    Thanks for walking out. If your employer takes umbrage upon you, supporters (like Scott Johnson) just might do the same to Minnesota Orchestra.

    I suggest prominent signs with block capital-letters in 72-pt type at each building entrance (especially the stage door):


  14. Brent


    I have profound respect for your playing, leadership and character. I honestly do not know what is appropriate anymore. I can see on one hand, your being employed by the orchestra with a job to do and the conflict of interest regarding your responsibility to the music and orchestra.
    I also feel that being held hostage on stage by patrons who assume their opinions are correct, more highly valued and better informed can be an infringement of your work place rights.
    So its not about “safe space” but more about what is professional, decent, respectable, courteous and ultimately fair.
    I remember playing a commencement gig at Georgetown University years ago and sitting through an exceptionally vile and profoundly twisted speech by a university regeant/prof – I simply could not take it anymore. I didn’t need the money so I got up and left. I went to Rice University which was at the time known for having a more moderate “think-tank” world view. Listening to that speech made me just plain mad – I did not need safe harbor and I have thick skin but I did not feel compelled to take their money and play for them. So I left without pay.
    Not sure I could walk out of a concert as a prominant principal player of a major orchestra with a family in tow. That takes guts. I will say, I have considered walking out of smaller gigs over much less significant concerns.
    I teach in higher education now and find myself dealing with a daily dose of heavily laced opinion – both from faculty, administration and students. I try to serve my students and offer insight when asked and spend time working on my own pride. I want to be sure that I am not the problem and that my world view is informed. I remain silent 98% of the time and I feel this is a true model of thoughtful civility and discourse. When engaged I assert, inquire and make reference. What I have learned is that most are so incredibly bias and inflamed in their opinion/hatred that they are truly not open to dialogue. Most would rather lash out then actually have a thoughtful conversation. When the lashings come from university administration, students on Facebook or an artist on a stage – the choice to engage becomes very difficult.
    I don’t know Manny – Ive never heard of this guy and the older I get, the less time I spend trying to reconcile myself with these folks opinions. I try to keep an open mind, swallow my pride and just deal with things – but does that mean compromising certain spiritual principles and strong moral convictions?
    I wish you the best and am sorry for this. I enjoyed touring with you a few years back.
    Blessings my friend.


  15. Donna R. Swan

    Years ago, a violinist walked out of the playing of the Star Spangled Banner at the opening of the Knoxville Symphony season. Nothing happened to him. He was objecting to GWBush’s invasion of Afghanistan, I think. There was no retaliation, even though East Tennessee is a very conservative area.
    This progressive stuff has even invaded my beloved mystery/whodunnit novels. The protagonists are always good caring liberals, bad guys are business men, and/or ugly, selfish republicans.


  16. Scott Alexander

    Congratulations, you’re the Colin Kaepernick of orchestras! Only you want holiday concerts to be free of politics while supporting a tax plan that allows churches to endorse political candidates. If only Kaepernick had walked off the field during a game.


  17. Theresa Skorseth

    Manny, I’m a liberal from Liberalsville, but I applaud your standing and walking out on the guy. I hope you don’t have to pay for it with your job(s). There’s no reason I can think of for the performer to be so insulting and self righteous. Having strong political opinions doesn’t entitle any one to be combative. If he can’t keep his politics off the stage, he needs to seek a different stage. Keep the faith, and don’t let us bastards wear you down.


  18. Cindy Johnson

    Bravo! I join the chorus who are sick and tired of having to listen to performers try to “inform” me. It’s bad enough that it is on 99% of the TV and radio stations, but to be bombarded by it when I’ve spent my hard-earned money to enjoy a play or a musical performance is beyond the pale. I hope and pray you will not be penalized; many of us would stand up with you!


  19. Joe Vass

    Thank you Manny. What you did was the right and moral thing. It was also courageous How much of this crap are expected to take? Joe Vass, formerly of MN, now in a dusty little village in Arizona.


  20. Scot with 1 t

    It would be nice if every part of our lives wasn’t hyper politicized…fortunately I work a lot and can’t discuss politics without potentially damaging my career…


  21. John Gildseth

    Wow- I think most of you are missing the point here. How many of you have jobs where you can walk out in the middle of something financially important to your employer, go home without explanation or forewarning, and not be fired? Manny walked out of a sold-out concert (for an organization that has been struggling financially to pay its musicians) before an important solo! It was disrespectful to the second trumpet player- to the entire orchestra- and most importantly to the people who paid a lot of money to see that concert (me being one of them). I think that falls squarely under the definition of self-indulgent—or if you want to quibble about the definition, let’s just call it what it really is- selfish.


  22. John Gildseth

    Wow- I think most of you are missing the point here. How many of you have jobs where you can walk out in the middle of something financially important to your employer, go home without explanation or forewarning, and not be fired? Manny walked out of a sold-out concert (for an organization that has been struggling financially to pay its musicians) before an important solo! It was disrespectful to the second trumpet player- to the entire orchestra- and most importantly to the people who paid a lot of money to see that concert (me being one of them). I think that falls squarely under the definition of self-indulgent—or if you want to quibble about the definition, let’s just call it what it really is- selfish.


  23. Lynn Wilson

    Manny! Kudos! One aspect not yet addressed by comments is that of musical professionality. Would you have been more responsible to remain on stage and play a musically marginalized (due to unexpected, unnecessary, upsetting circumstances) sensitive solo? Or was it better to send in a sub whom you knew would cover it well? Which option would better serve the guest performer? Having been in similar personally offensive circumstances, and knowing the toll it can take, I applaud you for making the right choice!!!


  24. Politics has long been a part of art, including pop music. If you’re going to see Joan Baez, Bob Dylan ,Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and countless others, you’re going to hear about politics. The idea of “keeping politics out of art…” well, that ship has sailed. Rufus Wainwright comes from a progressive folk music family. Both of his parents were/are folk singer/songwriters, as are his sisters and aunts. Pete Seeger was a family friend. He writes both personal and political songs, so I think he had a right to presume that the majority of his audience (his fans) were OK with his political views and he could express them there. I expect that if I went to a concert by a conservative artist and they brought up protecting gun rights or something, I’d be bothered, but I wouldn’t deny them the right to say it. It’s their show.


  25. Jessica Parker

    Manny, I was not surprised you walked off since I know your political leanings. Well, I was surprised because I didn’t know what that would mean contractually, but I expected you would be upset by his politics. I even agree that the arrangements were lacking. His recordings and other live shows have had stellar orchestration that made me take notice. This concert did not. But here’s the deal. I am a HUGE Rufus Wainwright fan. I have loved his music since his first album came out 19 years ago when my now-husband and I shared our first New York apartment and we heard it on WFUV. I loved the instrumentation and scope of his stuff, his lyrics were poetic and creatively set and his voice is just velvet! Elton John has called him one of the best songwriters alive today. I don’t know if that’s true, but just because you and your MYS students haven’t heard of him doesn’t mean he’s a slouch or just “this guy”. He is a niche guy but a sold-out show says something about his reputation.

    My perspective as a person who knows both the headliner and orchestra intimately well was that the orchestra was phoning it in. Why was the drummer allowed to crash the cymbal in the first tune like it was a heavy metal show? Had Hicks listened to any of Wainwright’s stuff beforehand? Why didn’t she adjust the balance? And why couldn’t I hear the woodwinds and violins? What happened with the marimba in the second number? How did he end up two beats ahead? Wainwright had some shaky moments, too, but really, after the first couple numbers and the Christmas song deal I don’t blame him. Really, since when is a vocalist expected to extend his upper range by a third on demand? So while you and some others may have been offended by the banter of the headliner I found the attitude from the orchestra offensive. Not your walking off, mind you. That was your deal and I get it. But I paid $80 to hear my grammy award-winning home town band sparkle with one of my all-favorite artists. It did not sparkle. That was very disappointing.


      1. Jessica Parker

        I guess I’m reacting to apples and oranges. At this concert he performed some orchestral arrangements of songs usually done with a band or solo piano and chose not to perform some his other tunes that use full orchestra. Strange choice.


  26. Andrea

    I am a long-time fan and I appreciate your musicianship, leadership and lengthy tenure in the MO.

    What I have to say has a somewhat different slant than what has been expressed here so far.

    We are grateful for and fortunate to have freedom of speech in the United States. Wainwright was free to express a political opinion from the stage. I was not at the concert, but it did not sound to me like what he said was hate speech. It sounded like it was a political comment that you disagreed with, that you felt was inappropriate (but he obviously felt strongly about.) As you know, many artists do not draw a line between their art and their politics.

    You had the right to walk off stage to express your opinion – your freedom of speech. That you, for that period of time, broke contract makes it somewhat akin to committing an act of civil disobediance, out of a strong sense of personal belief and imperative.

    I am going to go a step farther and push a little. I believe that in the current ugly, frightening political climate of today, it does not help anything at all in these kinds of situations to react with one’s own charged emotions. We need more people, especially people in the public eye, and especially elders, who think, speak, and respond to disagreement or conflict from a place of personal well-being, steadiness, tolerance, even humor. One loses nothing by staying calm. If it is a conversation, quiet dialogue defuses tension and animosity. Listening to and trying to understand the other person, while also stating clearly your own views, might lead to something positive, even though agreement may not be reached. We all want to be heard and to feel valued. Listening and acknowledging the value of the other person is a good place for all of us to start these days, when the divisions between us are so deep and hostility is so widespread.

    The more reactive fight-or-flight response most often arises out of anger, stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, fear, or other emotionally-draining states.

    Am I good at maintaining a high level of response when I am antagonized? Not really, but I am committed to improving. I am tired of all the anger and blaming that is so widespread these days and do not want to be part of it. I want to practice something different, something that might be one small drop of peace.

    Keep playing a beautiful trumpet in the MO, take care of yourself, and count to ten, or a hundred, when you get steamed. Many people, young and old, hold you in very high esteem.


  27. It seems as though we are required to absorb the rantings of leftist socialist artists against conservatives, our ideals and other people with whom we agree but are not allowed to express our indignation in return. I attend concerts to be entertained and enlightened and not be lectured about any particular political ideology. I always wished I had the courage to stand up and yell, ‘SHUT UP AND PLAY’!! Maybe someday I will.


  28. Helen Wynn

    Aloha Manny…I applaud what you did and only wish I were back in my home town of Minneapolis instead of Honolulu so I could STAND to applaud you the next time you are on stage. Hope that there is no retaliation from the orchestra management. I am also sick and tired of those on the left believing that they have the right to spew their venom about conservatives. BTW, got info on this from Slipped Disc blog. Interesting commentary there. Aloha!


  29. Jessica Parker

    Ok, I have one more thing to say. First of all, I apologize for my emotionally charged comments last night. Wendy Williams wrote a generous comment on my facebook page about my reactions to the concert and reminded me of things I know but really wanted to pretend didn’t apply to a performance that meant a lot to me. It was live, with live mistakes, on one dashed rehearsal with the artist, which I knew would be the case, and the 8th row is just not far enough back to get the balanced wash of stereo I love at Orchestra Hall. I just wanted it to be. Seriously. I didn’t get front row seats because I didn’t want crappy balance. I was fooling myself!

    But Manny, what happened to your compassion and encouragement for dissent? When we did the Brahms Festival Overture it was not long after the protesters were camped out in Tiananmen Square and standing in front of tanks. You rallied us! You encouraged us to fight for what we believed in. I will never forget your words that day. “Who changes things? Who stands up and fights? The STUDENTS!” You told us we had power! I thought you were encouraging us to fight for our beliefs regardless of your views on them. I thought you wanted us all to grow up engaged and empowered. Rufus is engaged and a child of that time like me.


  30. John Dougherty

    Thank you for standing up! We paid for entertainment to get away from this divisiveness. What makes these folks think we care, about what they think, about the tax bill, really?
    If more people did but you did perhaps the spoiled socialist leftists would think twice about advertising their opinions.
    Much appreciated for taking one for the team!


  31. Marvin C Perry

    There have been times (fortunately rare ones) in performances when I have wanted to do the same as what you did. Thanks for your very articulate and respectful explanation.


  32. Stephen

    Wainwright is a hot house flower who is used to being around people who share his views. His filthy comment suggesting an oral sex act per the lyrics of the Christmas piece is disgusting. But he’s married to a German arts director, Jorn Weisbrodt, so he’s probably surrounded by a milieu of like-minded people who reinforce his progressive, “non-traditional” “lifestyle.” You’re also in the Twin Cities or, as I like to call it, Weimar on the Mississippi.


  33. Andrea

    I am curious about your political transition from center left to conservative and would be interested to know more about it, when and how it came about, what led to it.


  34. Mike Bucalo

    Thank you Manny, that was one “not so small” step for mankind. I love your description of just how obscure this individual really is in the entertainment world. Hence his virtue signaling and political posturing at a public event. Now he might get nominated for a Grammy. Dissing Christmas was a nice touch too.

    People on his side of the aisle only care if their sensibilities are offended, not yours. After all, anyone that disagrees with them is a bad human being. Your actions were most definitely NOT snow flakery. You displayed guts, acted alone, and took a big risk. The fact that the editorialist projected that on to you is hilarious and sad. True snowflakes only operate with complete social and institutional support. And in big crowds.The management should be backing YOU up. The fact that the office would risk major donor alienation by not apologizing for this clown is also a little scary. Especially considering the recent financial history of the orchestra. Put the shoe on the other foot for a minute and imagine the reaction if Charlie Daniels had played and also delivered a diatribe on the greatness of the second amendment. Would the management and local press have applauded that?

    During my tenure as a trumpeter with a professional orchestra, I did hear a couple of short political quips from guest artists. Bobby McFerrin comes to mind. But that was long ago and it usually was much more subtle and in good taste. Good luck and God Speed.


  35. David Parish

    Hi Manny. You may recall that you and I could not be more different in our political policy beliefs. That said, I applaud your conviction, actions and response. Well done and a great example to us all. As you well know, this is about creating dialogue … not spouting dogma. I hope all is well in your world …


  36. Mary

    Thank you for your side of the story manny. I was very interested in what you had to say. With that, I have to ask you why you weren’t able to tune out Rufus when he spoke like so many of us musicians do at times such as these. As an atheist musician, i sit through many church services/masses that I find highly offensive (anti-gay rhetoric, unscientific “truths” etc.), yet I have never walked out as I can easily recognize it as something I don’t agree with, I don’t believe in, and i don’t have to listen to if I choose not to (so much easier to focus on what I have to play next than what on what someone is saying to his or her audience)… this act of disrespect to a visiting musician who had every right to speak to his fans in any manner he chose was such a juvenile move. I have to question how you can justify that to the young musicians you lead on a weekly basis?
    I think there’s a time and a place for everything… you could have very easily gone on a political rant about wainwright here on your blog once the concert was finished and in my opinion, been more persuassice and influential for it, than walking out in the middle of a concert.


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