I got off the plane from Havana around 7 p.m. Sunday into the blessed cool of the Minnesota late spring. Immediately: A stream of conversations.
Everyone wanted to know: “What was it like? What happened? What did you see?”
My responses were easy: “It was amazing, intense. It was an honor to go. It was fascinating. You should see my pictures.”
I am telling the truth, but deep down I am still processing what just happened. To go to Cuba at this exact moment, when everything is in flux, with an orchestra that is recovering from what was arguably a near-death experience during an agonizing labor dispute is a lot to take in.
Euan Kerr’s recap of the Minnesota Orchestra’s recent trip to Havana – in which the ensemble became the first professional U.S. orchestra since 1999 to play in Cuba – struck a chord with us for a lot of reasons, even if its ties to First Avenue aren’t immediately obvious…
Take, for one, what would have been lost (here and in the world) had another of the Twin Cities musical landmarks not been brought back from the brink in time.
Broadly the orchestra exchange was a profound, touching testament to the far-reaching effects of Minnesota’s commitment to transcendence-via-music, both for those here in the North and those on the other end of the line.
In the end it reminded us of so many reasons we’re proud to call the Twin Cities home.