Getting a brickbat instead of kudos for praising the special Long Beach Symphony concert given for schoolchildren Feb. 9 was surprising.
In response to Geri Bohlen's righteous indignation in her March 11 letter that I had a patronizing tone, may I say I can readily understand her justified pride in the Long Beach Unified School District's excellent music program, and I applaud her volunteer efforts. And she is absolutely on mark when she says, "other school districts look with envy on the program." It is precisely that envy that prompted my letter to the editor.
I'm sorry if I inadvertently applied my paint brush to all 3,000 Long Beach schoolchildren who attended. I probably should have explained that I spoke only for the 300 children who were there from another district. It seems that through the persistent efforts of a teacher outside the Long Beach district, permission was granted for 300 children from her school to join the event. I merely tried to express the wonder of the experience for them and a "thank you" for those who arranged it.
As Ms. Bohlen has conceded, "many school districts in California are deprived of good music programs." I know of a district whose elementary school music program consists of one vocal music teacher for all the district's fifth- and sixth-graders, instrumental instruction is almost non-existent, and it has been without a music textbook for quite a while.