MINNEAPOLIS- In response to outright criticism by the guest performer of the new GOP tax plan, conservative trumpet player, Manny Laureano walked off stage.
On December 5, the guest pianist, Rufus Wainwright apparently said of the tax bill during the concert, “It’s a call to arms…we have to fight for this country.”
In an interview with the Star Tribune, Laureano was adamant that he made the decision to walk off the stage.
“It takes a lot to push my buttons,” Laureano said, “but this particular tirade of divisiveness just really hit me in a spot that made me feel like I could not sit there and tacitly be seen as in agreement. I’ve never done anything like that before in a performance.”
Laureano said more on the lead up to the incident in his personal blog
“When he got to Cantique de Noel I was actually happy to hear him do it in French. I was less than happy when he 1) made it clear that he was only going to sing a Christmas tune because he was asked to (thanks for sucking it up and doing us the favor), 2) made a big deal about what a hero he was for singing it in a higher key and 3) decided it would be fun to translate the text so that they would have a double entendre that had as a punchline something about ‘falling on your knees for deliverance.’ Funny guy. I was not among those that found it cute. Fine. I let it go.”
It is well known that much of the art world holds left of center political views and outspoken conservative voices are few and far between. Laureano is certainly of the opinion that at concerts political ideology has no place.
“I think we should separate political events from social events,” Laureano explained, “when you start saying, ‘This group of people are the ones who are going to solve your problems, and this group are the ones who are going to give you more problems,’ that’s no longer a philosophical statement — that’s a statement of ideology.”
Laureano recognized that his actions were unusual, not only for the orchestra as a whole, but for himself.
“I did something that was fairly unusual for one of our concerts, especially a Pops-type show, so,” Laureano wrote in a blog post, “it’s not like I didn’t understand there would be consequences of varying types.”
The backlash toward Laureano has been intense. People have taken to social media calling Laureano, “bigoted right-wing homophobe,” and demanding that the Minnesota Youth Symphony, an organization Laureano founded, no longer allow him to teach there.
“I fully understand there will be consequences (for walking offstage),” Laureano stated, “some of the Strib comments suggestions ranged from jail time to firing to a 10 concert suspension without pay.”
A stark contrast to the accolades and awards given by the left to Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who have been kneeling during the national anthem.
“I like it when people get along,” Laureano said, “This is a road I’ve never traveled before — I’ve never been the center of a controversy.”