Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

Thank you, Bruce Seely, for half a century of service to classical music lovers of Utah. You’ve enriched my life, every day, for the 11 years I’ve lived in this state.

Your retirement comes at a critical time when local broadcasting of classical music is threatened. Our present situation reminds me of an incident that occurred many years ago at a meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Eighty-year-old Howard Hansen, then the dean of American serious musicians, stood at the podium, tears streaming down his cheeks, and shouted, “Shame on you music educators who teach trivial rather than significant music. Shame on you! Traitors!”

If BYU abandons classical music — which is the plan — culture in the state of Utah will become more trivial, common, ordinary, mediocre, commercial.

Educational institutions and educated persons should be lifting public taste, not stooping to meet it.

When you are safely retired, I hope you will use your experience, your connections, your passion to lead a campaign for more classical music. American culture needs Barber and Bernstein and Bach and Brahms and Copland and Elgar and countless others more than ever before. And Utahns deserve no less. I and thousands of other local music lovers will be cheering for you.

Lewis Phelps

Alliance, Ohio