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Lay Down Your Weary Tune

To the Editor:

Just wanted to say that publishing four perspectives on the recent Bob Dylan show [Live, Oct. 11] made for a fun read. While kudos are due to John Brodeur for his dead-on assessment of the evening, the review that inspired this letter is David Greenberger’s, for two reasons.

The first is that there is nothing lamer than denying an artist’s crappy show by saying the artist’s fans just didn’t get it. It’s self-serving and just plain wrong for Mr. Greenberger to assume he was in the minority of people endowed with a magical ability to enjoy being challenged or surprised by boring songs and lousy vocals. If you liked it, that’s great, but don’t haughtily presume others didn’t because they just aren’t up to your level of musical appreciation. For the record I am not of Mr. Dylan’s generation, but the oldsters sitting near me were truly trying to give Bob a chance and he was not reciprocating.

I must also take exception to Mr. Greenberger’s statement that Dylan’s “songs become a means for six people to align themselves together in time and space and create an energy that would be different in any other configuration and in any other moment. Musical enrichment of that order is a rare commodity.” Not so rare, actually. Every live music show brings musicians together to create unique energy in a particular moment. Therein lies the great irresistible lure of live music. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s awful, sometimes it’s mediocre and occasionally it is mind-blowing, but it is always unique.

It seemed to me that Mr. Greenberger was disappointed that more people didn’t share his appreciation for the show, and I can sympathize with that feeling, having been in the opinion minority more than a few times myself. I’ve read reviews of his that were good, even when I disagreed with them, but this one rang hollow, kind of like Bob and his band last Saturday night.

In any case, thanks for the quadruple viewpoints and the opportunity to spout off.

Elizabeth Baldes, Albany

School and Community

To the Editor:

While the article on the Albany schools [“School of Hard Questions,” Oct. 11] focused on the plight of middle-class parents finding a “neighborhood school,” we should remember that their concerns are no different than those expressed by parents throughout our district. Low test scores and low graduation rates, along with the perception that some neighborhood schools and magnet schools are academically superior to others, are driving parents to look to private schools, parochial schools and charter schools. The disparity in quality education throughout the district has been an issue highlighted through the work of Community United for Quality Education for over a year. First, we staged an education rally in August 2006 to highlight the educational dilemmas faced by minority children in our district. An op-ed piece, authored by some of our members, was published in April 2007 in the Times Union, articulating our concern that a restructuring of the district was not going to directly address the high percentage of African-American and Latino students who were failing their fourth- and eighth-grade assessments. Our members routinely speak out at school board meetings, further stressing that the district needs to be more aggressive in setting goals for increasing achievement among minority students and increasing access to advanced placement and honors classes for those minority students who qualify. It is also our belief that the school district must be more welcoming of the larger community if we are to stem the tide of low performance that plagues so many of our students and our schools.

By addressing the critical needs of our low-performing schools and our students who have not yet reached their full potential, we can improve the overall quality of education that is offered in all of our elementary and middle schools. Standardized district-wide curriculum, along with a strategic plan to reach success, will raise the level of education across the board. In doing so, parents will no longer feel that their only viable public school options are magnet schools and our schools will no longer be competing with each other to attract students. Providing quality education in all of our local neighborhood and magnet schools is an issue that can unite the entire City of Albany community, regardless of neighborhood or economic circumstance. We must be committed to working together to achieve this long-term goal.

Melissa Mackey, Community United for Quality Education, Albany

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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