02. November 2005 · Comments Off on She Asks the Question · Categories: imported, Ramble

Over at “Twang Twang Twang” Helen Radice shares a great story and asks us

“So c’mon, you serious musicianly aesthete bloggers – how far will you go?”

Read the whole thing and you’ll know what she’s talking about.

I played a concert once that was so embarrassing and so rotten and the audience went wild. I walked to my car in disgust. Or maybe sorrow. Or maybe both. And I overheard an audience member say, “Now that’s a good concert! They ought to play that kind of thing all the time!” I then wrote my poem Services Rendered. (It’s no masterpiece, but I’m oboist, not a poet!)

But of course that’s not quite what Ms. Radice is asking. She’s asking how far we’ll go, personally, and I don’t think she means how far our symphonies might require us to go.

There are embarrassing jobs. There are pathetic jobs. There are bizarre jobs. I’ve heard some mighty fine stories, and I just read this one from Heather of In The Wings. Ouch. People who hire us can be … um … difficult. Extremely so.

I had a friend who was once asked to play for a video promoting a Republican candidate. She was (and is) a strong Democrat. It would have paid well. She was truly torn. Fortunately the whole thing fell through so she never had to make the difficult decision.

But what would I do, I wonder? I’m not sure if I’ve played any tremendously bizarre jobs. Mostly I haven’t been asked. (Aw, shucks!) Oh … but I was asked once to play at a nudist colony. I turned the gig down. Yes, we were going to wear clothes. I heard that the audience would as well, but I still wondered if someone might pop in unclothed and I’m just not sure what might have happened to this normally under control musician. (It’s difficult to play oboe and laugh at the same time.)

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