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THORNS & ROSES: Let's not stop the music

Thorn — To the Hendersonville City Council, for traveling down a risky road that could set back impressive progress toward downtown vitality.

Councilman Ron Stephens recommended three remedies to muffle nightclub noise: No music upstairs, soundproofing first floor ceilings and requiring bouncers to keep the doors closed to downtown music clubs. Sounds real inviting. Ordinarily, business people count Stephens as an ally, for business and against onerous regulation. He's lost his bearings on this one. Yes, music on Main Street and residential living upstairs will create some conflicts. But this is no way to fix it. The ground-floor requirement could work but even that seems too limiting. Maybe an acoustic folk club overlooking the street will be just the right fit five years from now. The point is we don't know. What we do know is if we foreclose on the possibility now, we abort creative innovation before it's born. Passing a city ordinance that orders nightclubs to use employees for a specific function? We thought this was a community that opposed government interference in the free market. Keep the doors open, please. As the Lightning has said in these columns before, Hendersonville is on the cusp of a tourism surge that could be our biggest ever — if you add the beer tourists, the Biz611 culture and other new ventures. We may have to hear something newer than "Peggy Sue" and "Under the Boardwalk." If we start meddling with music, we silence the soundtrack that gives the street vitality.

Rose — To Hendersonville Pediatrics, for partnering with the Boys and Girls Club and Flat Rock Playhouse to send 14 club members to YouTheatre summer camp this month. The children's doctors donated $5,500 to send the middle school kids to the weeklong program. The physicians were interested in supporting a program that provided an outlet for imaginative kids and capitalized on their creativity. The Boys & Girls Club students will see college-aged apprentices perform in the Sandburg shows and get training in music, drumming and improvisation. On the last day of camp, they will showcase their talent in a combined performance with the Summer Vagabond Players during the Harambee Festival at Sullivan Park on Seventh Avenue.

Thorn — To Henderson County Commissioner Larry Young and his ill-informed critique of the Flat Rock Playhouse. Young has the right to the last scrap of paper from Playhouse administrators when it comes to the request to use the proceeds of a county occupancy tax increase. He's entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. To imply as Young does that all Playhouse shows are vulgar and adult-themed is offensive and laughably incorrect. Of 28 shows at the Playhouse, three at the most could fairly be described as something other than family friendly. Yes, there are questions about the Playhouse finances and its debts, as exclusive reporting by the Hendersonville Lightning has shown. Erroneous accusations about the quality of the music and the drama and the comedy performed on its stages does not advance Larry Young's cause, whatever that may be. Vulgar plays? Name them.