View Full Version : The Day The Music Died ( Small town politics )

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 10:41 AM
I want to run this by you guys cause I'm a little to fired up to compose a letter that needs to be written.

As you all know I live in a small artsy town nestled in the Hudson Valley. I love it here, I love small town life and I love the little things that come with a small community.

One of the things recently I have enjoyed is this small little music series in a friends barn. They are music promoters in NYC and they wanted a small intimate venue for artist to get out of the city and enjoy the small town and for us as a community to enjoy some music. It was a great thing. Usually it was some folk music, blues, gospel or jazz concert. It is held in a quant converted barn in the woods with wood-stoves burning and a little wine and cheese, coffee , soda and juice and cookies for the kids that milled about. The concerts usually took place on a Sunday afternoon and were spread by word of mouth. A small donation was paid and the artists got to hawk their t shirts and CD's. It was also a way to get together with friends and make new friends in the town. People were drawn to the warmth of the music and community spirit, everyone was welcomed, young, old, kids, dogs & cats they were all welcomed.

Check out their website



A little while ago the promoters of this barn concert, who's daughter is my daughter's best friend, decided to give even more back to the community and to the kids in particular. They worked with he local PTA to donate some money from the little concerts to be used to help with the schools music program. In exchange they got a little blurb in the PTA newsletter that my wife designs free of charge. So far I think they contributed like $500 to the PTA for the kids.

So this Sunday they sent out a little email to people on their mailing list, including the PTA board to inform them about a folk singer who was performing at the barn this Sunday. Thats when it gets weird. It seems one PTA member is a Fundamentalist Catholic. I know about the guy, he has tried in vain to get the Creche on the school lawn and the usual right wing fundi causes. Anyway he went to the artist web site and searched ( because he was looking for anything ) and found some silly thing written about a gay dog and some :rolleyes: and brought this demon musician to the attention of the PTA.

this is the email he sent to the PTA note the timber and that he was LOOKING for curse words in his music.

I know I am not part of the PTA but I find this totally inappropriate. I went to the website below only to listen to music with curse words and a question and answer page that talked about 7th graders sex lives and is my dog gay. Please look into why this is coming across under "letters at haldane PTA" As a BOE trustee I would hope this is not endorsed by the PTA or at the very least Haldane, regardless of how much money they donate. Below is the question and answer I read at "ASK CHEWEY" from the website (http://www.chewyrocks.com) listed in the email you sent. Now yea the website is weird but I have been to these concerts and trust me they are tame little folk concerts that everyone enjoys. They are not Communist rally meetings. And the promoters do not have total control of the artist's life's outside of their performance and every website.

So in the end the nice couple that put on these concerts and donated m a couple of bucks from it back into the community have decided to stop. And for the rest of us because of one fundi nut we all loose out.

I'm going to write a letter to the PTA and to the local paper about this. What do you all think?

[ 01-19-2006, 10:55 AM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

Bruce Hooke
01-19-2006, 11:01 AM
A few thoughts:

1. It is sad that your friends decided to cancel the whole barn concert thing just because of one nut. Is there more to this? It seems odd that one letter like this, not even sent to them, would cause them to shut down the whole operation.

2. The PTA is its own organization and they need to decide for themselves how to respond. A lot depends on how the blurb was written and what their policy is on connections with other organizations. Given how political school issues can become they should be well aware of the kinds of things they need to watch out for, and should have in place a policy for how the deal with these sorts of matters. Depending on the details of the situation they could either issue a statement disclaiming any support for the series or just this particular musician or come out with a statement of support saying that this musician or the series in general has been misrepresented by the person who sent the email.

3. Before writing a letter to the newspaper I would talk to the people who ran the barn concert series. I can't figure out why they were so quick to cancel the whole thing rather than just, at most, cut their connection with the PTA. They might be just as happy if the whole thing were not hashed over in the letters to the editor, and since they are your friends I'd be inclined to respect their wishes if I were in your shoes.

cedar savage
01-19-2006, 11:03 AM
Get fired up, stand up for your rights, go get 'em. Sounds like just the thing for those mid-winter blues. Nice little community brawl to get the blood going again, not to mention the chance to score some points against the Catholic fundis.

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 11:07 AM
Originally posted by Bruce Hooke:
A few thoughts:

1. It is sad that your friends decided to cancel the whole barn concert thing just because of one nut. Is there more to this? It seems odd that one letter like this, not even sent to them, would cause them to shut down the whole operation..I just got off the phone with my friend that runs the barn series and they ar allowing the fundi to think he has won by canceling this ONE concert, they will no longer contribute to the PTA directly through the Barn concerts. The concerts will continue. Yippy :D He said by all means write a letter the community is who they do it for and I'm a member of the community. I said I would send him a copy first just to get his input.

[ 01-19-2006, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

Art Read
01-19-2006, 11:12 AM
I'm just curious how they got away with it in the first place, regardless, of "content". A "renovated" barn, wine, cheese, crackers, cookies and sodas for the kids, wood stoves burning, a "small donation"? Sounds like a licensing/zoning/liability nightmare, no? Pity, but that's life in twenty-first century America.
I mean, hell, you couldn't even put a little bridge over a ditch in your own front yard without jumping through hoops!

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 11:16 AM
Originally posted by Art Read:
I'm just curious how they got away with it in the first place, regardless, of "content". A "renovated" barn, wine, cheese, crackers, cookies and sodas for the kids, wood stoves burning, a "small donation"? Sounds like a licensing/zoning/liability nightmare, no? Pity, but that's life in twenty-first century America.
I mean, hell, you couldn't even put a little bridge over a ditch in your own front yard without jumping through hoops!Yea Art that is one of the considerations they are conceding this one concert and I have to rethink a letter. I do not want this to then become a town issue, with permits and parking and the fire dept. You get the idea. :rolleyes:

jack grebe
01-19-2006, 11:21 AM
I hope it continues. that is just the little bit of Americana that I enjoy so much when we travel, and it's disapearing fast :(

Bruce Hooke
01-19-2006, 11:29 AM
I'm glad your friends are not cancelling the whole series. That would really be a shame. It still seems like a shame that they are cancelling even one concert, but I know that in small towns there are times when it is best to be diplomatic rather than stand and fight.

I disagree with Norman about the implications of something about the series appearing in the PTA newsletter. There is at least potentially some level of endorsement going on. The lowest level of endorsement would be if it were simply a paid advertisement, but even there I think there are some advertisements that they would or should refuse to run. It sounds like this was more of an article rather than an advertisement anyway. At that point much depends on the tone of the article. If it was basically a thank you for the donation then again we are talking about a pretty low-level endorsement, but I'm sure there are some places from which they would not accept donations. If it was more of an announcement of the music series then again that is a pretty low-level endorsement, especially if lots of other similar annoucements appear in the PTA newsletter. If it was more of a "this is a wonderful music series" kind of piece then that, of course, is a bit more of an endorsement.

When it comes right down to it, my impression is that it is mostly the PTA that is in hot water right now and that your friends are really just a sidelight to the major issue, which is what should be appearing in the PTA newsletter.

I do hope your friends have all their ducks in a row when it comes to the legal, code and zoning issues. This sort of incident can raise all sorts of unpleasant questions from the duly constituted officials...

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
01-19-2006, 01:59 PM
Instead of letting everyone know what a jerk this guy is,I would dwell on how much you and others enjoy these little concerts. Try to stay positive and build things up, instead of tearing down like he does. Just a suggestion Joe. ;)
Good Luck. smile.gif

Paul Pless
01-19-2006, 02:00 PM
good advice smile.gif we should all stay so positive

01-19-2006, 07:23 PM
A better description than "fundi nut" would be "cathaholic" ;)

Gary E
01-19-2006, 07:48 PM
Send Nunzio over to......


.........talk to the guy...

but since I have not been able to find Nunzio for a long time, I am sure you can find someone with hiz talents in your area... smile.gif

Bruce Hooke
01-19-2006, 07:59 PM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
A better description than "fundi nut" would be "cathaholic" ;) Actually, I known quite a few Catholics and most of them are quite reasonable people. Granted, their church may not be real happy with how they behave outside of church :D but that's between them and their church! The folks who are off the deep end from my perspective are often from small Protestant sects.

Oh wait, I just re-read what you wrote, and I didn't catch the play on words.

[ 01-19-2006, 08:00 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Hooke ]

01-19-2006, 08:36 PM
Joe...it is too bad this had to happen...
It is also too bad that the PTA members did not talk with the people who owned the barn and put on the music before making up their minds.
To me, it suggests that those on the PTA board shouldn't be.
I know this is moot...but if the PTA had talked to the owner...the owner could have invited them to one of the shows to show that there really wasn't anything racey, sexist..or what have you at these gatherings.

You are right...small towns...small towns and politics.
And we have created a national environment where anyone with a complaint about anything wants to take someone to court or change the rules.

Keep in mind...or remember that Native American basketball team calling themselves " the Whities"
I loved it...

[ 01-19-2006, 08:45 PM: Message edited by: uncas ]

01-19-2006, 09:40 PM
I am so glad my kid is grown, I fought that type of ignorant sh!t for 18 years. But now that my kid is off to college I don't give a rats ass about school or town politics! All I care about is that the canoe/kayak launch on the lake is opened every spring and the potholes are fixed.

01-19-2006, 09:42 PM
And then we have school taxes....So...even though I don't have kids...I do kinda like to know what my money is going towards...other than football uniforms...That's a gimme and I have no say in it.

[ 01-19-2006, 09:43 PM: Message edited by: uncas ]

01-19-2006, 09:51 PM
First off, these artsy fartsy small towns are nothing like they were 40 years ago, when they really were small towns with real people, not a bunch of hypocrits who move in from the city claiming they want the small town life, claim to love a "diverse" society, yet in reality, when it comes right down to it can't walk out the door without being offended by somebody. Political correctness just ain't what it's cracked up to be and we have no one to blame but ourselves. Art's right, welcome to the twenty first century

01-19-2006, 09:58 PM
One hundred percent agreement...

Phil Heffernan
01-19-2006, 10:48 PM
Todays society in the good ol' USA is paranoid beyond belief, about justabout everything...except the corporate intrusion into the minds of our kids...What the fundamentalist fellow doesn't get is that a local hootenanny is the best place for our kids to be exposed to politically incorrect thinking, as it's likely Ma & Pa will be there as well, to help the kid digest the 'new input'...

I will be posting a new thread about Home based business, just not now because it's late & I have to leave...

The mistake, I fear, is that these good folks hosting these hootenannys tied the event to the PTA, which left them open to the fear mongers...

Whether or not 'small town politics' is better or worse than that of 40 years ago is moot...the fact is, today is what it is, and I don't spend much time pining over the good old days, because they weren't, in many respects...small minds have always had power, and IMHO, nowadays is better...

Phil H

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 10:50 PM
Phil H. One hundred percent agreement...

Oh and thanks for lunch ;)

Phil Heffernan
01-19-2006, 10:55 PM
:D The pleasure was all mine...

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-19-2006, 11:02 PM
Small towns or not, I've heard most of this kind of thing before.

I used to have a woman call me, usually around 12:00 midnight to ask me in a drunken belligerent tone why I hadn't found a goddamn job for her son, and what was I doing about it?

I had a guy call the parking authority and me, and complain about his neighbour parking cars in the street that day. Turns out, the neighbours wife had died, and people had come by the house after the funeral. The guy knew that, didn't care.

A guy called and said there were people chipping golf balls in the park across the street from his house. What was I going to do about it? I suggested he call the police. He said no, it was somehow my job.

At a public meeting about a downtown waterfront development, a woman stood up and said: I don't know what the problem is with parking. "We could just build a lot under the lake. There is lots of room under the lake."

01-19-2006, 11:04 PM
This is why I work with cars. I can't stand the general public.

Phil Heffernan
01-19-2006, 11:06 PM

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 11:07 PM
What until you have a kid Katherine then it gets hard to avoid them.

As for me I like 90% of them even have a couple as friends :D

[ 01-19-2006, 11:08 PM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

01-19-2006, 11:09 PM
The way things are now, if I get frustrated and kick my client, I get a bruised foot. If I had a job around people and did that, I'd get sued or end up in prison. tongue.gif

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-19-2006, 11:11 PM
In a democracy, everyone gets their say, even if they know absolutely **** all...

You can even elect them ;)

Phil Heffernan
01-19-2006, 11:18 PM
I resemble that remark :cool:

Paul Girouard
01-19-2006, 11:28 PM
Yup he was / is wrong . If and that is "if" all the folk's going to the hootananny where Christian's , follower of Christ and the main event was that singer, he'd have a reason to complain.
I'd let it rest and do the gig "lower profile ", don't let the fundie win on this one.
Be in the world, not of the world. IE," he shouldn't go" , he had his right to send the letter as a USA citizen , his two bits , Done .

Paul Girouard
01-20-2006, 01:25 AM
Originally posted by Peter Malcolm Jardine:

You can even elect them ;) [/QB]Humm you got a better option ? King / Queen ? Dictator ?

You still elect your , EH, up north , in some fashion? Or are they just better? They're still just people :(