To the Editor:
Four score and 14 years ago, a marginally wacky music director at a Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio founded the Westminster Choir School. His name was John Findlay Williamson and he chose as his motto the optimistic: “Spectemur agendo” (Look at what we do).
Were Williamson alive today, he would have reason for joy. The premeditated annihilation of his dream by a hostile takeover, facilitated by a mentality so driven by greed and lust for power (under the code word “business”) that is in danger of destroying not only an inconsequential music school but the United States itself.
Looking at what Westminster did, it is indeed a miracle, a mixture of the wacky (where else would a cat be a regularly enrolled student who sat on the Steinway and passed judgment on Bernstein’s conducting technique?); the serendipitous (Williamson had a prayer and he used it to get the campus of Westminster); and the cosmopolitan (the best choir in the world and never restricted to elitists).
Rider University’s motto is [“Universitas] In Omnia Paratus” (Prepared in All Things). Apparently, they were not prepared in Latin grammar (Recte: In omnibus parata).
A niggling point? Not on your life! This is not a simple, forgivable mistake. It bespeaks an attitude to learning that is sloppy and inattentive (and seems, by the way, to be becoming an American trait. If it looks like a tomato, it’s OK if it tastes like something you found lying on the street in Pompeii.).
Out with it. These people know nothing about music, let alone tomatoes, and don’t care. They have shown themselves unworthy of Westminster. Angela Merkel recently said, after talking to the President (the other one): “From now on, we must be responsible for ourselves.”
- Begin contacting alumni.
- If the price of Liberty be vigilance, apparently the price of Westminster is to cut ties with Rider.
- No renters, etc. must be allowed to occupy space in Westminster.
- No hard assets, especially the four tracker organs, can be moved to Lawrenceville.
- The best solution would be to for Princeton University to do the right thing, step in and establish some satellite arrangement with Westminster such as obtains at Oxford/Cambridge.
Know that I have no personal interest in interfering with ongoing work by others.
Finally, Confucius said: “the superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.”
W. Liam Allan-Dalgleish