The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Music and the arts should get their due from University of Wisconsin parking authorities — despite the popularity of football games.

September 23, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

It is only the beginning of the new season and already last weekend was packed, even overloaded, with great classical music and fine performances, as I remarked last week.

There was a concert by the UW Pro Arte String Quartet; a concert by the Ancora String Quartet; two performances by the Oakwood Chamber Players; the start of Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen”; and an inaugural concert in a series to be given by gifted University of Wisconsin School of Music alumni.

Because of various commitments, I could only get to one: the concert by the Pro Arte Quartet (below) on Saturday night in Mills Hall. (But here is John W. Barker’s glowing review for Isthmus of the Ancora String Quartet’s Romantic program at the First Unitarian Society:

But what effort it took!

The UW Business School’s Grainger Hall (below), which is supposed to be the parking lot of choice for arts events – because it is close to both Mills and Morphy Halls in the Mosse Humanities Building — had been reserved in its ENTIRETY for football parking, a situation made worse by the late kickoff time of 7 p.m. I tried to park there and found it packed, just absolutely jammed.

So was the city lot between Lake and Frances Streets, where I finally and fortunately lucked out and found  one spot as someone left.

Now I realize football is popular. Go Badgers!

But many of us also like to attend other UW events.

Plus, I cannot believe that UW parking authorities can’t set aside enough parking (photo below is by Jeff Miller for UW News) to allow for good attendance at a comparatively small arts event.

But sadly, they didn’t.

And sadly there were far fewer people at the Pro Arte concert than should have been there — just look at all the empty seats, both downstairs and especially in the upper balcony and on the sides in the photos below  — for a fabulous concert of late Haydn, early Schubert and late Dvorak that deserved the prolonged and enthusiastic standing ovation it received.

Was all of the absence due to parking problems? Not at all, given competing musical concerts, both classical and non-classical, as well as other events.

But I did in fact hear many people complain about the parking problem, which also almost made me late. And I also heard some pretty complicated arrangements – early arrival, tag-team driving times and walking long distances — for how people managed to circumvent the terrible parking situation in order to attend the Pro Arte concert.

So The Ear has to ask: Can’t UW Parking do its fair share to promote and help the arts on campus? After all, parking is there to serve the university — NOT the other way around.

And there is only so much any one driver can do, despite some tips from Steve Brown Apartments (below).

What do other readers have to say? Leave your voice in the Comment section.

Maybe someone at UW Parking will get the message, pay attention and solve the problem.

Or maybe NOT.

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