Could 'The Body' be the answer in orchestra dispute?

  • Updated: October 22, 2013 - 7:33 PM

This debacle has to end, and maybe the former governor could muscle a deal.

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During The People√≠s Celebration on Jan. 16, 1999, Gov. Jesse Ventura mounted the stage adorned in his buckskin jacket, lilac bandana, yellow and purple feather boas, and did some poses from his days as “Jesse The Body Ventura.”

Photo: MIKE ZERBY • Star Tribune file,

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MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

Maybe ‘The Body’ could wrestle a deal

OK, I’m going to say it. I have been listening to friends debate, reading the vast coverage for months, attending the free concerts, accepting leaflets denouncing management’s disinterest in negotiations, and the bottom line is … I DON’T CARE. There. I said it. Whew. That was easier than I thought.

The fact is, watching the Minnesota Orchestra mess unfold over the last year has been like watching the Vikings game Monday night. In the beginning, we had high hopes that the Vikings would beat the worst team in the league, only to watch painful execution ending in defeat. I turned off the TV with five minutes left to play.

Kind of the same place I am right now with the orchestra. Many prominent people have tried to intercede in negotiations, but no one has been able to execute a viable solution, not even the beloved Marilyn Carlson Nelson.

The bottom line is, well … the bottom line. The orchestra cannot survive without a sustained, long-term business model. We all know it. At this point don’t say, “Yeah but they renovated Orchestra Hall — they could have used that money to pay musicians.” Blah, blah, blah. We all know that money came from a different pot. Minnesotans want to have a world-class orchestra; we simply don’t want to pay for it. The most startling revelation through all of this is that no one has come forward to bridge the gap between responsible financial stewardship and the preservation of a Minnesota icon.

I can’t help but think that it may be time to bring in the big gun — the big kahuna of all kahunas: former Gov. Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Can’t you see him at the negotiating table? It would all be sewed up with an arm wrestling maneuver.

Truthfully, I really do care. I care that this has turned into an embarrassment to Minnesotans and we are ostensibly dismantling a Minnesota gem. Politicians, orchestra board members, musicians, orchestra leadership — and, yes, even Marilyn Carlson Nelson — should be embarrassed that this has turned into a national “Minnesota isn’t so nice” debacle.

JEFFREY AMANN, Minneapolis

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