Down Your Weary Tune
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
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
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
In any case, thanks for the quadruple viewpoints and the opportunity
to spout off.
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.
Mackey, Community United for Quality Education, Albany
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