Letter to Columbus Dispatch editor from Symphony Musician. Let’s catch up the arts in this town.

columbus downtown at night

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City’s performing arts must be upgraded

Monday, February 28, 2011

Our city's bicentennial celebration starts in less than a year. Thanks to The Dispatch for reminding us of what's to come (article, Feb. 13). There are plenty of things in the city to be proud of.

Ohio State University is certainly thriving under the superb guidance of President E. Gordon Gee. The Buckeyes football team is a perennial national power. COSI is one of the finest science museums anywhere. Our zoo is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country. The art museum has just finished a very impressive expansion. The Arena District is thriving to the point where other cities are trying to duplicate its success.

Even the professional sports are doing very well. The Columbus Clippers have a superb stadium to showcase the baseball team’s talents. Our Blue Jackets hockey club is fighting for a playoff spot in the first-rate Nationwide Arena. The Columbus Crew won a national championship a little more than a year ago, and Crew Stadium is one of the few soccer-specific stadiums in the country.

Another thing that makes a city great is the performing arts. How are we doing there? We have a symphony orchestra that performs in a theater that was built in the 1920s for silent movies accompanied by live music. Five years ago, the symphony season was 46 weeks. It is now 25 weeks. The opera is struggling to perform two operas this year. The ballet? It cannot afford live music for most of its performances.

Next year the focus will be on Columbus. Will this city be ready to showcase its performing arts?

RUSSELL GILL

Columbus Symphony musician

Hilliard Ohio

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