Animals Really Do Make Everything Better

It probably happens far more often that some might think, but animals aren’t all that shy when it comes to walking out on stage during concerts. One of the more recent examples was caught on video during a Vienna Chamber Orchestra concert with pianist Fazil Say in Ephesus, Turkey June 20th.

Say posted the video showing the dog casually walking out on stage and settling in at the concertmaster’s feet.

During my time as a camper at the Interlochen National Music Camp (as it was called back then), I remember a cat who used to show up and sit just offstage during every concert at Kresge Auditorium. S/he would sit and watch for most of the performance until one night toward the end of summer, something possessed the cat to bolt across the stage during a concert that used organ and, of course, it made a beeline right for the foot pedals.

Apparently, the conductor was completely unaware the cat was on stage and thought the organist was to blame.

It made for an intermission straight out of a bad 80s sitcom with said conductor tearing the high-school age organist a new opening until the been-there, done-that stage manager clued in the maestro. Awkward apologies and forced levity followed.

It’s rare to find someone in the field who doesn’t have a good animal-during-an-event anecdote. What’s yours?

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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