By John McGinness
Re: Michael Saffle’s April 28 review, “ ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ blends music, comedy”:
I take issue with Saffle’s use of the word “minions” to describe the musicians of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra.
Minion is defined as “an obsequious follower; a sycophant” and a “doormat.”
Intentional or not, the use of the word “minions” as the sole descriptor of the RSO’s musicians is insulting.
The professional musicians of the RSO derive our incomes exclusively from performing and teaching, holding contracts in regional orchestras up and down the East Coast. Many hold tenure-track teaching positions at major universities, while others teach part time at colleges or from private studios.
For some of us, the RSO will serve as a gateway into a position with a full-time orchestra in a city like Baltimore or Chicago, while others will make a career doing exactly what we are doing in Roanoke and similar communities throughout the region.
The RSO is not a haphazard assembly of weekend warriors.
As in other serious orchestras, musicians in the RSO are selected intentionally in competitive auditions for specific vacancies.
I encourage Roanokers to take time to meet the musicians of the RSO at your next opportunity. I think you will find us to be much more than obsequious, sycophant doormats.
McGinness is a bass trombonist with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. He lives in Burke.