As a former director of the Longy School of Music, I support your April 12 editorial admonishing the school for its decision to terminate the community division which, for nearly a century, has welcomed children and adults to study alongside its aspiring professionals. In an April 21 letter responding to that editorial, “Longy is right in its mission,” a trustee defends the decision as necessary in light of the difficulties facing a “small, stand-alone . . . . institution.” But Longy is no longer a “stand-alone” institution after its merger with Bard College, a move that was trumpeted as giving Longy the support and stability it needed and heralding bold new ventures.
While one of those ventures, the training of graduate students to teach in underserved communities, is laudable, it is hard to understand the logic of ending the community division while promoting the school’s mission of “preparing musicians to make a difference in the world.” Musicians, by the very path they choose for their life’s work, have always made a difference in the world. But in the case of Longy, that should start at the doorstep of the school.
As the Globe editorial rightly points out, when Longy seeks the support of the community for future programs and growth, it may regret turning out nearly a thousand students and dozens of faculty members who have supported the school and contributed to its excellence. What is needed now is a one-year suspension of the decision, giving time for all concerned to consider space and financial issues and determine a future course.