, Gloucester, MA

June 25, 2013

Editorial: Manchester's gain, city's cultural loss

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — It’s good to learn that the Cape Ann Symphony has not only enjoyed a successful 61st season — its first based at the Manchester Essex Regional High School auditorium — but that the orchestra is committed to returning for its next season, which begins in September.

Indeed, not only have tickets sales improved, according to new board president David Stotzer, but the orchestra and its musicians enjoyed their stay in the four-year-old school as well.

“The clarity of sound challenges us to play even better,” said Conductor Yoichi Udagawa. “Our goal is to always raise the level of our performances for our audiences,” he added – and that comes across as a win-win scenario for all.

But there is a loser in all of this. It’s the city of Gloucester, which of course served as home to the symphony until 2012.

That was when city and school officials, hell-bent on pursuing a new school for the West Parish district and therefore committed to showing that a supposedly decrepit Fuller School was not an educational option, intentionally allowed the orchestra’s former home — the once beautiful Fuller Auditorium — to fall into such decay that it forced the symphony to pack up and leave.

Hopefully, the symphony has found a long-term home in Manchester. It has lone been an important cultural resource for all of Cape Ann, and it can provide a boost to Manchester business, most notably to a few restaurants that can serve patrons who’d like to have dinner prior to a performance.

But it shouldn’t be forgotten that Manchester’s gain is Gloucester’s musical and cultural loss — and a calculated one at that. That’s a shame.