Conductor, youth orchestra frustrated with Bass Hall security

Conductor, youth orchestra frustrated with Bass Hall security

FORT WORTH -- For years, the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra has enjoyed its annual performances at downtown's Bass Performance Hall.

But on Sunday, the experience wasn't exactly what some families expected.
 
"When you're dealing with 400 children, there can be a bit of chaos that ensues," said Lee Warren, the youth orchestra's executive director.
 
She says their group tried to explain to Bass Hall management that some of the facility's new security measures, which effectively prevent any instruments or instrument cases from being in the audience area or lobby, might not work well with children and families.
 
"We want them to want to come there. A child will not understand why an instrument case shouldn't be allowed in a performing arts center lobby," said Warren.
 
Stories of confusion and anger started to spread on Facebook shortly after the event when well-known conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya posted an outraged video complaining about being kicked out of the lobby for simply carrying his daughter's violin case.
 
The facility is run by Performing Arts Fort Worth, Inc.
 
President and CEO Dione Kennedy issued a statement on Monday, reading in part:
 
"We are looking into this matter and will be speaking to Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra management. Mr. Harth-Bedoya is aware of our security procedures, including the bag admittance program that went into effect on January 17."
 
While Warren says she appreciates the facility's need to be safe, she thinks there is certainly a compromise that could be found.
 
"We love playing there. Our kids love it," she said. "But we need to have some dialogue. These are children and families, not Broadway performers."
 
The enhanced measures have also become a source of irritation for some members of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, which is one of the hall's "resident companies."
 
"In the past, we'd done meet and greets in the lobby after concerts, and we're no longer able to do that because we have to watch our instruments" said Ed Jones, the symphony's lead Tuba player.
 
He said they too agree safety is important, but they've heard concerns from patrons. Sunday night served as another example.
 
"San Antonio, Dallas, New York City. Not that I'm aware of is there another venue in the country that has these stringent of measures," he said. 
 
The Bass Hall website clearly outlines what is and is not allowed inside, although it makes no specific mention of instruments or instrument cases.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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