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    Am I Being Unreasonable?

    Yesterday, I was fit to be tied! I received the music for the concert late on Saturday in the mail, and had little opportunity to practice due to work. 3 or 4 more pieces were on my stand for sight-reading when I got to the rehearsal. I was also told to not bother bringing in my electric piano (I use for all B'way shows) because they'd already put one on stage, and the manager refused to move another! (the venue has no real piano).

    Sitting on four 1" metal legs was a Clavinova out of the dark ages. When I attempted to play it, I discovered the pedal didn't work, it didn't have the Celeste sound the music required, nor did one of the F# keys in the middle of the keyboard come back up after playing. When I attempted to lift it, the cover came off!!!

    So, I spent the afternoon rehearsal and evening concert pulling the #$%@#$ key back up after playing it, and using organ technique to compensate for lack of a working pedal. I discovered halfway through the concert that someone had programmed in a split, as well as a MIDI setting, and the treble end was not programmed to use the pedal!. There was a "vibes" sound option, so for the celeste I chose that--you should have seen the conductor's face. It kinda, sorta sounded more like a celeste than piano would have.

    I spent the break before performance wondering if I should:
    • Walk out.
    • Insist on using my own instrument--no matter what the manager said.
    • NEVER play for this organization again.
    • Complain to the Board.
    It was a benefit concert, but I was so embarrassed to be representing myself so poorly on such a crappy instrument. If I had one, I'd have insisted the manager use a toy instrument to play HIS part (fellow musician)!

    I can't ever remember being treated that way before in a professional situation. What do you think I should have done? Was I an idiot to have accepted the offer of work?

    Michael

    P.S. I was a few minutes late to the rehearsal, but the manager had been advised of this before he sent the music in the mail.
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

    #2

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      #3
      It depends on how much you want to play for this organization. If you don't really care about it, and don't feel that your participation is personally enjoyable and fulfilling, then I'd say walk away. But if you actually enjoy it (the sad experience you related notwithstanding) and find it satisfying on other occasions when you were allowed to bring your own instrument, then talk to the manager earnestly, explaining how handicapping it is to play this defective instrument, and see if he won't come around to your point of view.

      It seems ridiculous to expect a professional player to play on a broken instrument. Would a violinist or harpist or anybody else stand for that? Would the violinist pick up and play some old broken-down fiddle instead of his treasured Strad just because it was provided by the venue?

      So, no, you're not unreasonable. But the situation might be salvaged if you can come to a reasonable understanding with the parties involved. Just my two cents worth.
      John
      ----------
      Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
      Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
      Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
      Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
        It seems ridiculous to expect a professional player to play on a broken instrument. Would a violinist or harpist or anybody else stand for that? Would the violinist pick up and play some old broken-down fiddle instead of his treasured Strad just because it was provided by the venue?
        Haar! That's the very same scenario that first came to mind for me; but probably a poor analogy! If you can play a strad violin, then you can equally play any other violin. But not so for keyboard instruments. I have a Yamaha PSR 2000. And with determination and effort, I've eventually learned how to use 10% of it's capabilities. But when it comes to other unfamiliar keyboard thingies, even with other Yamaha's, I am totally lost. I have never intuitively been able to coax music out of any one of them!! With modern complex keyboards, it would be either my way or no way!!

        When push comes to shove, especially when it comes to benefit concerts, you have all the power, and the conductor, a mere beggar.

        For sure, the time to walk out, is obviously not during a concert! That will only damage you. The time to negotiate, is at the outset: If you want my services, these are my terms.

        Don't allow an ignorant bully to outplay you!! You are the one who has the power!! Hone that power to a fine art!! and enjoy!!
        2008: Phoenix III/44

        Comment


          #5
          I agree your situation is annoying.

          Did you report the problems fairly quickly after they were discovered? You were there for rehearsal, so apparently there was time discover at least a couple major problems. The broken key? A showstopper if it can be fixed. (You had a solution, your own keys.) No Celeste that the music called for? Another showstopper? You sat down to play an instument that immediately looked old and therefore suspect and therefore requiring some more diligence on your part.

          While the situation you were placed in was ridiculous, there were ways for you to react to help make them better, but it seems you let your annoyance prevent you from doing a couple things before the show started. Walk out? Maybe, but only if you made an honest effort to fix the problems.
          When I become dictator, those who preach intolerance will not be tolerated.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ShadyJoe View Post
            Did you report the problems fairly quickly after they were discovered? You were there for rehearsal, so apparently there was time discover at least a couple major problems. [snip] Walk out? Maybe, but only if you made an honest effort to fix the problems.
            Shady,

            I agree with you. That's why after the first piece I played for rehearsal, I went over to the manager (also playing his instrument) and let him know the pedal didn't work, and that a key was stuck. That's when he refused to move another piano onto the stage for me to use.
            Originally posted by ShadyJoe View Post
            You sat down to play an instument that immediately looked old and therefore suspect and therefore requiring some more diligence on your part.

            While the situation you were placed in was ridiculous, there were ways for you to react to help make them better, but it seems you let your annoyance prevent you from doing a couple things before the show started.
            When the conductor mentioned during rehearsal that one of the pieces (sight-reading: It was handed out during rehearsal) had a prominent Celeste part, I told him I'd do the best I could with the piano pedal not working, no Celeste, and the sticking key. He looked a bit shell-shocked at first, then turned to the harp player and began instructing her concerning the same piece.

            When I spoke to the conductor after rehearsal, he pointed out that he wanted a piano on stage when the rehearsal began, since I was going to be late. It's not like the manager didn't know of my tardiness for a WEEK PRIOR to the rehearsal! I would have gladly taken my keyboard to the venue the night before, or loaded it in the trailer with the timpani so it would have been there in time. Not a peep from him about any other possible arrangements.

            I'd like to be part of this group, but if I complain, the manager probably won't hire me for future concerts. He continually hires me as an afterthought approximately 3-7 days prior to the concert, while everyone else has had the music for approximately a month! It used to be a joke, but I suspect there may be more reality to it than I know. I used to say that, "I'm the person they hire when they can't find anyone else." I'm beginning to wonder if that's true. To find out, I should wait until someday they ask me to play 3 days before the performance to say, "NO!"

            I told my wife I'd give it until the end of this concert season, and then make up my mind. She wanted to call the president of the board and get him out of bed. <shrugs shoulders>

            I enjoy performing, but I hafta admit, he's made it pure hell!
            Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
            • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
            • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
            • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

            Comment


              #7
              You should make it plain that you will only use your own instrument in the future and will be happy to work on delivery arrangements when timing is an issue (just as you've stated). If they don't call, they have made the decision and you won't come off as difficult in disposition. I personally wouldn't be their "ace in the hole" if they constantly advise you by short notice.

              Comment


                #8
                If I was a spectator at that show and didn't understand what was going on would I think that the keyboard player was terrible? Just another aspect to consider when making your decision. I understand being flexible but these people seem unreasonable. I have to wonder why they even bother. The conductor and the manager seem to have low standards if they force people to work in such inferior conditions, particularly when there are ways to work around it.
                When I become dictator, those who preach intolerance will not be tolerated.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                  Shady,

                  I agree with you. That's why after the first piece I played for rehearsal, I went over to the manager (also playing his instrument) and let him know the pedal didn't work, and that a key was stuck. That's when he refused to move another piano onto the stage for me to use.
                  And that's when I would have headed for the door. You jeopardize your own future by trying to work with broken equipment. The audience doesn't have any way of knowing the conditions of the equipment, they just think you're a terrible performer. You think the manager is going to stick up for you? Fat chance.
                  "The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like." St. Pius X

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by OrgansR4Me View Post
                    You should make it plain that you will only use your own instrument in the future and will be happy to work on delivery arrangements when timing is an issue (just as you've stated). If they don't call, they have made the decision and you won't come off as difficult in disposition. I personally wouldn't be their "ace in the hole" if they constantly advise you by short notice.
                    Good idea. I think I'll try that from now on. Then we'll see where they really stand!
                    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Good points, Snow & Shady. Hence my dilemma and weighing the options.
                      Originally posted by ShadyJoe View Post
                      If I was a spectator at that show and didn't understand what was going on would I think that the keyboard player was terrible? [snip] The conductor and the manager seem to have low standards if they force people to work in such inferior conditions, particularly when there are ways to work around it.
                      The conductor is new (3rd concert with us), and is from a musical climate where musicians sight-read performances (i.e. NYC, LA, DC, etc.). The manager is overworked and underpaid because he's not only the manager, but librarian, etc. My wife tells me that just one of those is a full-time job, so I'm sure (as a young guy) he's probably overwhelmed and doesn't understand what he's leaving in his wake. The president of the board, however, is an international musician and also understands what it takes for a good performance--as well as contracts. Maybe that's my best option.

                      Thank y'all for the excellent insights and help. I think I know what I'll do from here on. Thanks again for everything.

                      Michael
                      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                      • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                        There was a "vibes" sound option, so for the celeste I chose that--you should have seen the conductor's face. It kinda, sorta sounded more like a celeste than piano would have.
                        ROFL

                        Ok... so did they not know what music would be played at their own event? They should know the instrument provided is inadequate...

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