Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Which One Gives You the Best Performance — a Well-Rehearsed Orchestra or a One-Man Band?

If you’re like most of us, you’ll put your money on the orchestra. It has a support structure, a musical director, a conductor and dozens of professional musicians all focused on giving the audience the product of their collective experience.

The one-man band? Not so much.

That’s the contrast we see between the City’s plan to build a fast, frequent and reliable elevated rail transit system through Honolulu and the plan Kamehameha Schools is touting.

As we said a couple days ago and on many other occasions, the City’s project has been planned, vetted and polished by hundreds of professionals. KS’s plan was written by one consultant in New Jersey.

Some people are attracted to solo performances, and you can find a few of them tapping their toes to the Johnny-One-Note rhythm: “It’s cheaper…, it’s cheaper…, it’s cheaper….” But KS’s at-grade proposal wouldn’t be as fast, wouldn’t carry as many commuters and wouldn’t arrive as reliably on time nor as frequently as the City’s well-conceived system. In other words, it wouldn't do what needs doing.

An orchestras and a one-man band may both fit the narrow definition of a music-making "organization," but the comparisons stop there. One grabs your attention with a lot of cymbal work and makes a stab at playing several instruments at once. The orchestra delivers the complete package.

As the City nears groundbreaking on its rail system, we simply can't afford distractions by a cacophony of false notes.

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