From The New York Times:
The moment was about something more than the end of a bitter labor dispute. The sounds of music at the hall (along with the Tigers’ victory in their home opener on Friday) were like the chirpings of a bird in the bleak days of late winter. It finally meant some good news in a town so often described as hollowed out, shriveled up and abandoned.
The census figures in March were the latest gloomy development. They showed that over the past decade the population dropped by a quarter in Detroit, where a fifth of the lots are vacant, and the city’s leaders are demolishing 10,000 empty residential buildings.
At the least the orchestra survived, albeit with the phrase “near-death experience” repeated often.
“This is a blue-collar factory town,” said David Lewin, 56, a native of the city and a 10-year subscriber to the orchestra who works in advertising for the two Detroit newspapers. “Our image is the Rust Belt. Just down-and-out Detroit, and a lot of that is true,” he said, as he waited for the concert to start in the Max M. Fisher Music Center’s atrium.
He got emotional at the thought of the city’s decline. “But we have gems — the Detroit Symphony and this hall,” Mr. Lewin said. “What classical music represents, human expression at the highest level, juxtaposed with this hell hole we call our city,” he said, stopping to fight back tears. ’“It’s remarkable.”
Read the rest in the Times here.