Instruments On Airlines: Fighting Crazy With Crazy

If you’re a musician with a story about being hassled by airline employees for bringing your instrument on the plane or an arts manager dealing with the endless pain in the neck that is making travel arrangements for instrumentalists, Chattanooga Symphony & Opera concertmaster Holly Mulcahy may have a new trick to help bypass the nonsense. Having said that, you should know that it is a bit unconventional.

ADAPTISTRATION-GUY-173She recently published an article at Neo Classical inspired by a recent New Yorker article by Patricia Marx about the growing trend of getting pets designated as Emotional Support Animals (ESA). Not to be confused with legitimately trained and certified service animals, ESAs are pretty much a pop-psychology scam that some people are using to bring their pets with them into locations they would otherwise be prohibited, such as airline flights.

Mulcahy, tired of being hassled even when armed with multiple copies of Federal regulations affording musicians the ability to bring their instruments on board with them, was fascinated by reading how polite and accommodating TSA and airline employees were to passengers bringing ESA animals on board a flight, even a pig.

I won’t spoil the surprise but suffice to say, Mulcahy’s solution is amusing if not intriguing: Hi, This Is My Emotional-Support Tarantula.

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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