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FWSO conductor, Bass Hall at odds over security

Posted 12:30pm on Monday, May. 15, 2017

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, says he was kicked out of his own concert hall Sunday night after his daughter’s performance in the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra’s end-of-season concert.

“Mr. Harth-Bedoya is aware of our security procedures, including the bag admittance program that went into effect January 17,” says a statement from Kennedy. “All four resident companies – Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Opera and the Cliburn — were made aware of the security enhancements well in advance of implementation and given the opportunity to share with staff, artists and patrons.”

Harth-Bedoya posted a video to Facebook that shows him standing outside Bass Performance Hall with his daughter’s violin case in hand. Two police security officers can be seen standing behind him inside the lobby behind glass doors.

“Hello everybody, I have just been kicked out of my own concert hall because I am holding my daughter’s violin. That’s great, thank you Bass Hall,” Harth-Bedoya says in the video.

But the conductor knew about admittance rules that took effect in January, said Dione Kennedy, president and CEO of Performing Arts Fort Worth, which manages the hall, in a statement released Monday.

The statement also says Performing Arts Fort Worth is looking into the situation and “will be speaking with Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra management.”

In the caption of the video, Harth-Bedoya wrote, “The police told me that YES you could come into Bass Hall with a loaded gun, but NOT with a violin case!”

Kennedy also made it clear that Bass Hall and the Maddox-Muse administration building next door, “are posted 51 percent facilities where the possession of any concealed weapon on the premises is a felony.”

The Youth Orchestra published Bass Hall's bag rules on social media but did not give any advisory about children's instrument cases.

Parents and children came and went throughout the performance as the various age groups performed and left the stage. But no instrument cases were visible in the auditorium seating.

“Musicians aren’t allowed to take their cases into the hall. Any of them ... even FWSO who this is supposedly their home,” said a Facebook post said from Melinda Massie, a Fort Worth Opera participant. “Utterly ridiculous.”

At Bass Hall, on Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth, small bags and purses are allowed but not those larger than 12 by 4 by 12 inches. Luggage, backpacks and shopping bags are not allowed. Bags or purses larger than 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches must be inspected, according to the bag regulations.

The regulation says it exists for patrons to experience the most comfort and security possible.

The event was the season grand finale concert for 300 children and teenagers of the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra, a music education program for children from across Dallas-Fort Worth.

The concert included performances by five different ensembles and orchestras of various ages.

Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy contributed to this report.

Azia Branson: 817-390-7547, @aziabranson

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