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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 22

April 26, 2006 at 10:54 PM

The venerable Shar Music in Ann Arbor, Mich.—one of my favored haunts in high school—has announced that it is seeking to hire 2005 and 2006 college graduates with degrees in either music education or performance. They seek musicians who are customer-oriented and interested in learning about the business side of music.

“This 10 month position offers a competitive base salary, performance bonuses and employee benefits, plus a monthly string supplies allowance, paid practice time and an audition travel allowance. You will be involved primarily with inside sales, by phone, email, and in our showroom, but will also spend time evaluating new products, and traveling either locally, nationally or internationally as part of our Conference and Show team.”

To apply, e-mail or send your resume and a letter of interest to:

Erin Salhaney
Shar Music
P.O. Box 1411
Ann Arbor, MI 48106

Violinist Susan Kirtz, cellist Leslie Lyons and bassist David Funderburk are the current crop of Shar apprentices.

Travel Woes

Everyone knows the logistics of traveling with a cello or bass have gotten more challenging in recent years. Unfortunately, students from the Cooper High School Orchestra in Minnesota had a nasty surprise when they flew Northwest Airlines on a late-March trip to California, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

At check-in, the orchestra was charged an additional $880 to stow the cases of 13 cellos and three basses. I was hoping we wouldn't be charged at all," said Sarah Chelgren, the orchestra's director. "We limited each of the kids to one bag so we wouldn't be over weight limits, even with the instruments." Northwest says it has a longstanding policy of charging for oversized musical instruments, reports the paper. The policy also says instruments must be in crushproof cases.

Chelgren, a cellist, put the surcharge on her personal credit card and the group boarded. When the plane landed in L.A., students were shocked to discover that four of the 13 cellos were damaged; of those, two were unplayable.

“On return day, Chelgren put another $720 charge on her credit card for transporting the instruments. This time, the airline did better. Only one bass, the zipper on a cello case and one student's suitcase were damaged. ‘I've traveled all over the world with my cello, and I've never had a problem,’ said Chelgren. ‘When you pay through the teeth, you'd think they'd take care of things.’”

Since the return, Chelgren has been learning about the airline's policy regarding busted baggage. She fears that damage to two of the instruments, a cello and a bass, won't be covered because the cases weren't damaged. Total damage will amount to several hundred dollars, she said.”

The students are currently back to fundraising to raise enough money to cover the surcharges and instrument repairs.

Orchestra News

The Canton Symphony Orchestra has received a $500,000 anonymous gift to endow the music director chair in honor of Music Director Gerhardt Zimmermann, reports the ASOL. Zimmermann is celebrating his 25th anniversary this season.

The Lubbock Symphony Orchestra will continue its search for a new music director into the 200-07 season, which marks the orchestra's 60th anniversary. The committee had reached unanimous consensus on a candidate who was not able to accept the offer. "Therefore, we are committed to continuing the search and finding the person who will inspire enthusiasm from all constituent groups," the search committee chairperson announced.

4/25/06 - The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has unveiled a new media agreement with Minnesota Public Radio which will allow online listeners to hear a large percentage of the orchestra's 35-year archive of radio broadcasts, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “Still undecided is whether the programs will be free to consumers, but the agreement is likely to get plenty of scrutiny from orchestras and musicians around the country, as the industry continues to debate how best to use new technologies, and how (if at all) musicians should be paid for such distribution.”

4/20/06 - The Philadelphia Orchestra has tapped the dean of the Eastman School of Music to be its next president and CEO. James Undercofler is a surprise choice for two main reasons: first, it is very unusual for an orchestra executive to come from the academic world; and second, Undercofler officially took himself out of the running for the position and signed a contract extension with Eastman a month ago, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on April 27, 2006 at 5:46 AM
Ah, I could have told those orchestra members long ago never, never, never to fly with Northwest airlines. It costs more to fly as a dog than it does as a human. Needless to say, they have received many creative letters expressing my disgust.
From Carolyn Shields
Posted on April 27, 2006 at 3:28 PM
And then Northwest doesn't take care of the dog--they let mine escape from her carrier at LAX, where she was at large for two days.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on April 30, 2006 at 8:40 PM
Oh, should I be president of Eastman or President of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I can't decide. It sux to be popular. lalala

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