As MPR News reported, McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul is closing.
“In the near future we hope to be able to collaborate in teaching contemporary music with one or more of these major universities. But for now, McNally Smith College of Music as a small private school of music will no longer be able to offer our programs in the current environment,” Board chair Jack McNally wrote in a letter to staff.
What will become of people who dream?
The school is located across the street from the World Headquarters of NewsCut and the students often cut through the MPR parking lot on their way to and from McNally Smith.
They were a constant reminder that people still chase dreams despite the odds and despite the cacophony from the 2017 economy that says those days are over; chase dreams on the side. What kids need are jobs that can support them. Passion is so yesterday.
Each student carrying a guitar case was like the man in Tiananmen Square in 1989, standing in front of a tank with only his briefcase, a comforting assurance of human determination.
I have no idea what the odds are that a well-trained musician can find a career in the field; given that enrollment has declined, perhaps the tank has rolled over the man with the briefcase.
I should have known that times were tough at the school; I haven’t seen that many students in recent months, accounting for my growing despair that we are a changing civilization and that our golden age of dreaming is vanishing.
Increasingly, it feels as if art — the only real yardstick by which an intelligent civilization can be measured — is being snuffed out. Dreams die hard, but they can die. Chasing one’s passion is exhausting.
There are other places to learn music, of course. But I’ll miss the occasional reminder that hope still fuels a generation that can’t make things any worse than mine has.