And, like coming back to Gustavus after the tornado, things aren't over yet. (For those of you not following this story, this was a special concert--the lockout is still ongoing.) The storm was only part of what went wrong there. The life lesson I learned fifteen years ago in March was that there isn't anything so bad that humans can't make it worse on each other. There were heartwarming life lessons, too, but that one was...a little less obvious.
Mayor R. T. Rybak got up before the concert and talked about the institution we all love, and...look, I'm glad there are people like Rybak who can care for institutions, because institutions are not all bad, and like everything else they need care if they're to continue. But I wasn't there because of the institution. I don't love the institution. Or at least, I don't love it unconditionally. I want to go to a large classical music ensemble at which talented musicians play awesome music. If they completely disbanded the Minnesota Orchestra and re-formed as the Minneapolis Symphony, I would not mourn the old institution if the new one treated its musicians better. For some people the institution is more important than the members who make it up. I'm not one of those people. I will roll with the changes that have to come along as different musicians move along to different parts of their careers and lives...but for me it'll be the musicians and the music over the institution every single time. We judge institutions not by their antiquity but by their works, and one of the most important facets of that is how they treat the actual people in them, now, today.
Anyway. The Sibelius symphonies were just grand. I was in a mood to be appreciative, but they more than earned that mood and its appreciation. And tears came to my eyes when I heard the notes of Finlandia for the encore. It was exactly the concert it needed to be.
Let's hope that some key people were as moved as I was.