There is an old Scottish proverb that says “Do not judge by appearances; a rich heart may be under a poor coat.”

Never did that come to mind more than when I read a letter Saturday chastising those who attended an Opera Maine Gala for the mode of attire of some attendees. (However, he magnanimously made allowances in a condescending manner for a Down syndrome individual.)

The letter described the low expectations that came with moving to “Hooterville”…”a backwater town” as he described Portland. Nineteen years ago we moved to Maine from Chicago, a city of over 3 million people, where we had the privilege of attending the world class Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera. At no time here did I ever feel I had taken a step down culturally. In fact, I have had experiences in music and theater that have more than equaled  those encountered in Chicago, New York, and other cities.

Instead of criticizing, the writer should be grateful that these wonderful people came out in support of the arts. It is their generosity that keeps the arts running.

Perhaps it is indeed time to focus on those rich hearts instead of those poor coats!

Diane Denk


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