It Has Come To Our Attention That The Musicians Are Armed

When you work in this field long enough, you come across opportunities to snag some rare items that document some of the more remarkable occurrences. For example, my wife has a copy of the Richmond (VA) Symphony memo sent to musicians reminding them that firearms are not permitted at services. She keeps a framed copy in the dining room for posterity and it never fails to serve as a great conversation piece.

richmond memoIn addition to the check your gun at the door memo, I have a copy of Canton Symphony’s infamous “More Than You Expect from an Orchestra” calendar; a 2005 fundraiser in the style of Calendar Girls that featured risque photos of orchestra musicians, administrators, board members, and volunteers. As an aside, the orchestra’s president and CEO at that time was a very good sport and gave an interview about the calendar, which was subsequently published here on 4/7/2005; it remains a very good read.

I’ve seen similar treasures in the homes and offices of colleagues over the years but let’s open the floor so you can share; what do you have stashed away for posterity?

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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6 thoughts on “It Has Come To Our Attention That The Musicians Are Armed”

  1. This isn’t in the “funny” category, but just this Christmas my grandma gave me a color illustration by Daniel Nierman of a cross-section of the 1995-97 remodeling plans for Symphony Center in Chicago. I plan to have it framed and loan it to the college where I work for public display.

  2. In April 2010, the Red Deer Symphony was scheduled to perform Strauss’ Four Last Songs, but our guest soloist was unable to travel to Canada due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland. I was asked to play the Mozart Bassoon Concerto in its place, and the local newspaper did a story on the last minute switch. The article turned out to be a fantastic souvenir – my picture was displayed prominently next to the headline “Symphony’s Plans Reduced to Ashes”!

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