As a musician, I can can recall three distinct instances where circumstances demanded that I defend the honor of my chosen profession and advocate on behalf of its continued existence. I've often wondered how many accountants, investment bankers, or doctors have stood the same ground as their opponent challenged the value of their profession in modern society. Public opinion looks upon classical music as a luxury rather than a necessity, and with the economy the way it is, six U.S. orchestras will not be opening this coming season.
Earlier tonight at Boston's Jordan Hall, the Boston-based initiative Music for Food put on a concert to raise hunger awareness as well as funds and supplies for the Greater Boston Food Bank. The concert featured many of Dvorak's short piano works, several songs by the French composer Ernest Chausson, and finished with Dvorak's Piano quintet no. 2 in A Major. I do not believe that one can overstate the significance of such an event. In a society which values only that which proves itself commercially viable, and may blame many musicians for relying upon "handouts", it's wonderful to see a performance that has such a clear and immediate positive impact.
At its core, music, and all art for that matter, is all about giving of oneself for others. I see the combination of music and charity not as a fundraising gimmick but rather more akin to a fine food and wine pairing. The two compliment each other and achieve a common goal. MFF and other programs like it serve as proof that classical music still functions as a positive cultural force.