Instead of beating pots and pans, these protesters played a snare drum, clarinet and flutes.
They were part of about 200 people who gathered outside Halifax’s CBC Radio building Friday to take part in a simultaneous nationwide rally against upcoming cuts to classical music on CBC Radio 2, traditionally an all-classical music station.
Ken MacKay, president of the Atlantic Federation of Musicians, who teaches music to children, worried about the domino effect of less classical music hitting the airwaves.
“It’s an integral part of Canadian life and the music they play is part of our culture,” he said.
Adrienne Richey, 15, of Dartmouth held up a sign that said “You’re abusing Debussy. Don’t chop Chopin. Bring back Bach. Liszt is off the list. Don’t beat Beethoven.”
“It’s just terrible that they’re cutting music,” she said. “They’re trying to grab a younger audience, but I’m a younger audience and I really enjoy classical music.”
Come September, weekday classical music programming is to be cut from 12 hours a day to five off-peak hours leading to the cancellation of many popular shows, says a press release from rally organizers.
CBC spokesman Jeff Keay says the change is part of the year-long program redevelopment. Classical music content will be reduced on weekdays, but will remain the predominant genre on the station, he said. Folk, jazz and Canadian composers will soon be added to the playlist.
“We think it’s very important to represent musical diversity in Canada,” Keay said.
“It’s not going to be pop and it’s not going to be the type of stuff you hear on private radio.”
Half of the audience of CBC Radio 2 is older than 60, Keay said. While he admitted the move is to appeal to younger listeners, he said in this case it means the CBC wants to attract more 40- and 50-year-old listeners to the station.