To the Editor

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This article by was prepared for the July 18, 2001 edition of U.S.

1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

We went over to the Princeton University Chapel the

other day for a service celebrating the life of architect Peter

Lokhammer,

who died July 13 at the age of 54. Among the many things we learned

was that this architect seemed to appreciate the details of a good

piece of music as much as he did a good building.

One of the speakers related a conversation with a doctor, who showed

up at the hospital room on a Monday morning and was surprised to see

Lokhammer, by then terminally ill, doing far better than he had been

on Friday. What was the secret, the doctor wanted to know. My friends

came over and played music for me all weekend, the architect replied.

For a lot of people, music matters, and so do the arts in general.

The writer of the letter below laments the discontinuation of summer

Shakespeare in Princeton. If it were kids’ soccer, he wonders, would

the community have allowed a problem with the facility to curtail

the season? Some might argue that Shakespeare is performed by a small

troupe of professionals, while kids’ sports are open to all. But as

Peter Lokhammer proved, you can also participate in the arts by simply

sitting back and listening.

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To the Editor

It is an unhappy thing that Princeton is to be denied

a 2001 season of professionally produced and acted Shakespeare for

lack of a little problem solving (U.S. 1, June 27, "Summer

Shakespeare

— Perfect in New York . . . But Not Quite Suitable for

Princeton?").

No one proposes that Princeton Rep’s 2000 season of Free Shakespeare

at Community Park North was anything but a grand success. Certainly,

the over 12,000 attendees thought it a wonderful program and

newspapers

agreed.

Was it too successful? — Perhaps that was the "rub"

identified

by Nicole Plett in her article. The lack of appropriate improvements

(added parking, lighting, sufficient seating, changing rooms, and

rest rooms, etc.) is a very real concern. Added liability related

to those deficiencies is certainly a consideration. None of those

things are or were insurmountable in the short or long term!

Had the discussion been about municipal liability and inadequately

designed swimming, tennis, soccer or baseball facilities, one could

rest assured that there would have been a temporary fix and a

long-term

solution. One would suppose there might have been private funding

as well as grants from government agencies.

I have been a long time financial contributor to Princeton Rep and

have worked long hours on their behalf. "Free Shakespeare"

isn’t really free! Individual donations, corporate gifts and artistic

grants are what make "Free Shakespeare" free. And then there

is the issue of dedicated people who accept nothing less than

excellence

and who do their work for love of the art. Such folks are hard to

find.

How could anyone not understand the immediate and long-term

opportunity

nor see the danger of lost momentum? I can only hope that some of

last year’s 12,000 attendees will tell their government

representatives

that art matters.

Del Purscell

Newtown, PA

DelanoPurscell@msn.com


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