Archive for February, 2009

Reality intrudes

February 14, 2009

The entertainment business has traditionally separated itself from real life; the fundamental axiom is, after all, “the show must go on.” So it’s a shock when the show can’t go on. Yesterday provided a sad example.

The Chuck Mangione band was scheduled to play a concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic on Friday night. Thursday night, two members of the band, Coleman Mellett (guitar) and Gerry Niewood (saxophone/flute), were on Continental flight 4307 from Newark, which crashed into a Buffalo suburb with no survivors.

Given how ubiquitous air travel is in our business, it is remarkable that so few musicians have been killed in commercial air accidents. The last I can recall was William Kapell, who was killed in a crash in the hills above Stanford University (near San Francisco) while returning from Australia. A few years before that, the French violinist Ginette Neveu was killed in the crash of an Air France flight in the Azores.

Very sad news.

(update: on a rather macabre note, there is a website about the crash in which Kapell died. The crash site is now contained in an open space preserve and there is still wreckage in the woods.)

Why unions? – Part II

February 1, 2009

It’s surprisingly infrequently that I find myself writing about orchestral matters on my AFM Observer blog – surprising because of the importance of the AFM in the orchestral ecosystem. But one of those infrequent occasions arose yesterday, when I found that material from that blog was used (misused, in my view) to try to sway members of the Madison Symphony Orchestra to vote against unionizing. Rather than repeat what I wrote in response, you can read it here.