Always nice to hear from the fans


Our friend, Ruth, sent this here to the website:

copy of comment to NPR re. FROM THE TOP:

For a number of years, we have so looked forward to listening to From the Top, with Christopher O’Riley as the host par excellence. He was well-prepared, interactive, sensitive, and seemed to have a natural ability to showcase his talented young musicians while putting them at ease and injecting a nice touch of humor. All the while he drew out different dimensions of their background, interests and personalities; in addition he was a superb musician. The program was a delightful and optimistic change from the charged pessimism that we’re bombarded with. Recently, we’ve also become aware that he never injected politics. 
This was brought home by the program on October 21, with Paul Katz as host. It featured two youth from Israel, one apparently Jewish and one, Moslem and Arab, living in the West Bank. I can only imagine that Mr. O’Riley would have let their commonality- their mutual talent and love of music- speak for itself, without introducing a negative scenario that was not expressed by either of the young people. It even contained an error in fact. 
As much as the current ever-changing hosts come with musicianship and goodwill, their enthusiasm often sounds forced and awkward, maybe due to lack of experience. This is understandable, but sadly, something intangibly humane is lost. 

With Kind Regards, Ruth Heuberger GT. Barrington, Ma 01230

Dear Ruth~

Thank you for your note to NPR.

Although no one at FTT or NPR would ever acknowledge this, I believe I was dismissed by the outgoing ED, Jerry Slavet largely because of my political social media engagement being perceived as inappropriate by him, although I was always very careful to stick within the NPR guidelines on that front. It’s especially ironic you note Paul Katz’s injection of politics, erroneously to boot, into the show. I had occasion, in the live show, to inject some much needed political levity, as in our last Honolulu show where I was interacting with the kids of the Honolulu Youth Symphony, a superb ensemble, by the way. In discussing the Aloha Spirit innate in the ensemble, I asked them to tell the audience the meaning of Aloha. They responded eloquently and I thanked them for lending us their translation, as in Hawaii Aloha would mean one thing while on the mainland it was starting to mean Make America Great Again. Thunderous applause. Needless to say, no political content was allowed on the final cut of the show, and I had an understanding with my producer, Tom Voegeli who’s ultimate task was cutting the show together, that if I felt an outre venting coming on, I would leave room on either side so he could cut around it while the audience and I shared some fun. On another occasion where I got a big political laugh, I ended up being a bit of a Jack Benny, just standing there waiting for the laughter to die down so Tom could cut it out easily, the audience continuing to laugh and presuming I was just milking it.
So now politics is included, encouraged, on From The Top?
That guy they had before? He was a lot better.

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