Dear Dustin Hoffman:

Hi!  First, let me say that I’m a big fan.  Dick TracyHook, Stranger than Fiction… you’re a man with range and I appreciate that.  Awesome.  You  make every movie better.  I’m jazzed to see this new one…

You’re coming to Connecticut soon to play a “demanding choir master.”

I’m a choral conductor who lives in Connecticut.  And I’m worried.

I’ve seen a lot of conductors portrayed in embarrassingly inaccurate, insulting ways.  I mean, the whole character becomes undermined because he’s (it’s always a man) so bad at his job.  Most people don’t notice or care because they don’t know what a conductor is supposed to be or do anyway; so they just buy into the inaccuracy.  But you, Dustin Hoffman, have the opportunity to do it right!  To portray us with accuracy!  To be a conductor who gets good results because he does his job well, not because he does what non-conductors assume a conductor is doing.

I’m sure you’ve taken great pains to research the character and the work he does.   For comparison, I humbly direct you to my very first post, “Jerks Who Flail,” for an explication of the flaws in general perception of conductors on screen.

By contrast, as an example of the best quality of the true work of a conductor, you already are probably connected with Fernando Malvar-Ruiz.  You’re working with kids from the American Boychoir School, where they make art of the highest quality, sing with the greatest technical accuracy, and perform with the strongest engagement of humanity of any children’s choir I’ve ever seen or heard of–and better than most choirs of any age.  Their conductor, Maestro Malvar-Ruiz, is magnificent.  I hope you speak to him about what he does and how he gets his boys to give so much of themselves on stage.

Oh, Dustin Hoffman, I so hope it goes well.  I hope the script doesn’t make your character a jerk who flails–“demanding” to mask his own insecurity… there are conductors like that, but they don’t get good results in the end.  Hence the aforementioned underminement.  I would love to see a genuinely good conductor on the screen for once.  And I’m so glad it’s you playing him, because I think if anyone could do it, it’s you.

Ever hopeful,

Amelia

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