We have the folks in the cultural district -- as well as the folks in the neighborhoods -- more worried about land development deals. They have taken their eyes off the ball. They fumble their duties. They make everything we have diminish in value with their miss-placed priorities.
By Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Outside the Benedum Center last night, a Dixieland band played "Sweet Georgia Brown," but the 150 people picketing the lack of live music at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of "Carmen" did not sugar-coat their messages.
One picket's sign read, "Live Ballet Plus Canned Music Equals Dirty Dancing." Another protester's sign said, "Wanted: A Ballet Management That Cares."
Among the pickets were 25 music students from Carnegie Mellon University; musicians from New York City, Toronto, and Akron; local stagehands; Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians in full dress with white ties; and T-shirt-clad members of the Service Employees International Union and Teamsters.
In an attempt to save $500,000 a year, the financially troubled PBT has decided to use recorded music during its performances instead of hiring musicians.
Laura Brownell, director of symphonic services for the American Federation of Musicians in New York City, said ballet-goers were being cheated because "they are being asked to pay the same amount for half of the experience."
Mark Tetreault, principal tuba player with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, agreed.