Terry Teachout had a great piece on amateur musicians in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal. This section was especially germane to the goals of this blog:
You’ll notice that I used the word “amateur” pejoratively. To call a performance “amateurish” is one of the biggest bombs in a critic’s arsenal. Yet the word itself descends from amator, which is Latin for “lover,” and throughout much of its history it has also been used to refer to people who engage in an activity for love rather than money. The world of art is full of such passionate and admirable creatures, some of whom share their passions with the public. If you’ve ever heard a concert by the Doctors Orchestral Society of New York or seen a play performed at one of the innumerable community theaters that dot the American landscape, you know how useful a role the serious amateur can play in the life of a culture. Anyone who seeks to make art rather than merely receiving it passively is on the side of the angels—so long as he doesn’t succumb to delusions of grandeur.
from “What They Do for Love” by Terry Teachout
The Wall Street Journal, January 3-4. 2009, W10