Letters to the Editor

Curtis Institute of Music student musicians perform at a season premiere.
Curtis Institute of Music student musicians perform at a season premiere. (CANDACE DI CARLO / Curtis Institute)
Posted: April 01, 2013

Noteworthy upbringing recalled

What fond memories of my father, a classical clarinetist, came to mind while reading Caeli Smith's article ("A populist plea for classical music," March 25). Passionate about his craft, my father practiced well into his eighties for two to three hours a day. When I was younger, my father would take me to the Academy of Music, going backstage afterward to talk to his friends and fellow musicians. During performances, Dad would relate the history of the composer and the reason for the work, making the music all the more tangible, emotional, and interesting.

I have four siblings and I'm sorry to say that none of us can play a note. My father said the music business was too tough and he didn't encourage us to play. He lived a musical vagabond existence and traveled the world to play what he loved - once even illegally to Cuba to sit in with the Havana Symphony.

We buried my father with one of his clarinets, but every now and then I imagine him gently playing to me. He left me with the greatest legacy, a love of classical music.

Robert J. Little, Cherry Hill

Upstream on Canoe House plan

Taking the historic East Park Canoe House and doing the brutal alterations to fit 10 or more 60-foot rowing shells inside, stacked high in a building designed for 16-foot-long canoes, with everything else the Temple crew team will need, is not a sympathetic treatment of this important Fairmount Park building. Everything about the idea would be another big mistake for the park, for Temple, and for all the people who love to use the river at that spot but are not rowers.

Gardner Cadwalader, Philadelphia, gacadwalader@gmail.com

Dealing with deep poverty

Like any mother, my heart went out to Emily Edwards and Deisha Bradley, the two women featured in Inquirer reporter Alfred Lubrano's disturbing portrait of deep poverty in Philadelphia ("Of big cities, Phila. worst for people in deep poverty, March 19). Fortunately, I can do more for two people caught in the undertow of poverty as head of the Urban League of Philadelphia. Our agency already has reached out to these women, and Bradley has registered with our career center.

We do not have a magic bullet to restore the budget cuts that have left thousands jobless. But the Urban League does train workers and prepare them for jobs in today's market. One of our most successful programs is Connect to Work - a six-week program that trains for customer-service jobs. A subsidy is available. About 13 students in the December class had firm job offers before they completed their training.

Patricia A. Coulter, president and chief executive officer, Urban League of Philadelphia

A call for more after-school aid

The After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) commitment of $50,000 to enhance programs in schools may seem like a drop in the bucket. But for ASAP, it represents 10 percent of the year's spending on efforts that underwrite safe and fun activities in chess, Scrabble, drama, and debate for more than 5,000 Philadelphia kids in the often-dangerous after-school hours. As an ASAP board member, I could not be prouder. And I hope ASAP's example proves to be the catalyst for more civic actors' stepping up to ensure that all students benefit from the challenging but necessary process of school consolidation under way in city schools.

Debra Weiner, Quakertown

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