Happy Belated Veterans Day

I was so excited to post news about the COVID-19 study results that I completely blanked on my usual Veterans Day post. And this year’s entry is extra special because thanks to the voters of Arizona, one of the biggest threats to military music will no longer be in Congress!

Senator Martha McSally lost her bid to become a senator in 2016 but ended up getting appointed to the other seat vacated by the passing of Senator John McCain. Fortunately, she was roundly defeated and will be out of Washington soon.

If McSally’s name rings a bell, that’s because she has been a driving force behind efforts to gut the US Armed Forces music programs. McSally has a consistent track record of open hostility toward military musicians and has no problem publicly denigrating their value and the music program’s mission.

Her loss means we can still say with more than a modicum of pride that the single largest employer of full-time professional musicians is the United States Armed Forces.


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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