Saturday, March 16, 2019
The Saturday Snapshot #31
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra went on strike Monday, and on Friday Linda Spadlowski drove in from the far Northwest suburbs to join them. She is not a musician—she's a patron, a paraprofessional at an elementary school in Carol Street.
"I came to lend my support to the musicians," she told me. "The orchestra is one of the best in the world, and its musicians should be treated with the respect they deserve."
We spoke for a few minutes—I was just blundering by, heading to the train from the Hilton, where I had attended the the ACLU luncheon, guest of my friend Howard Suskin at Jenner & Block. Picketing is tiresome, and I was impressed that a concert-goer would go to the effort; it speaks to the devotion that patrons have to the music, particularly since this was her first year as a subscriber.
These sympathetic thoughts were in my head as I walked away. Then, as if to ground me in the greater reality, a remark from a man next to me cut through the Michigan Avenue background noise.
"I'm supposed to feel sympathetic for folks playing the goddamn fiddle?" a man exclaimed. I stole sly glance to my right. Enormous cantilevered gut. Brush mustache. Terrified slip of a wife. Young daughter he was dragging along by her arm.
The music is out there, free to all. But not everybody can hear the music. The CSO has cancelled its scheduled concerts for this weekend.