FEBRUARY 15, 1945
NEW YORK, Wednesday—This is St. Valentine's Day, and even in the midst of war the saint, who is both very old and very young, must be remembered. So let us pay a tribute to love which springs eternally in the hearts of men, and salute today all lovers who make the world more beautiful.
It seems only appropriate that I bring to your attention today an appeal for used musical instruments which is being made, I am told, by Special Service officers overseas and by the hospitals in this country. The instruments may either be given or sold to the armed forces. Apparently, new ones cannot be produced in sufficient quantity, and so the musical public is being asked if they have any excess instruments, from "piccolos to pianos," in their homes. Donors need only call their local music merchants and ask them to place the instruments in the proper hands.
In the District of Columbia, we are again beginning the yearly drive for the support of the National Symphony Orchestra. This orchestra has gradually been built up by Hans Kindler until it ranks among the major orchestras of the country. The great soloists who have played with the National Symphony Orchestra say fine things in praise of it. For instance, Myra Hess has written: "I wish I could tour the country playing Mozart with this orchestra," and Artur Rubinstein says: "I came in tired to this rehearsal after a hard train trip, and find myself instantly refreshed playing with this keen orchestra and Hans Kindler."
The National Symphony Orchestra has been a pioneer in Sunday concerts and in the outdoor Watergate concerts in summer. It gives children's concerts and—most important of all, I think—it has set its prices within the reach of the great floating population of the District of Columbia. The fund raised yearly by the sponsors must have support from those who can give some large sums. But I am most anxious to see it supported by many small contributions coming from the thousands of people, living in Washington temporarily, who have enjoyed and been benefited and comforted by Hans Kindler and his orchestra.
Music in wartime is especially important. There are no barriers of language, race or creed. Music speaks to the souls of men. Many people today are going through anxiety, sorrow and suffering. Anything which can take them out of themselves into the realm of beauty deserves support from all of us. The capital of the United States should lead in every field, and this is one field in which it now leads and should continue to do so.