The Unconservatory  

Dangerous and Beautiful Thoughts

Have you noticed that President Clinton is the only elected official in recent memory to publicly perform on a musical instrument? Why hasn't everyone else followed his lead? Maybe we should add an amendment to the constitution: "In addition to any existing requirements for public office it is hereinafter mandated that all elected officials in the United States of America furthermore be required to sing in tune or demonstrate proficiency on a musical instrument."

We would watch C-Span much more frequently. Maybe more of us would vote. Maybe more of us would run for office. There would surely be far less armed conflicts in the world if other countries were to follow suit. Imagine the War Department memo: Invasion canceled...General Brownstone is performing his original "Battle Royal for Unaccompanied Cello" in the rose garden at 3:00 p.m. next Sunday. All high ranking officials are required to attend. Dress is casual. Maybe we would give Newt Gingrich a fair listen if he sang his proposal to Congress about gutting the National Endowment for the Arts............Nah!

Did you notice how much money our government is planning to spend during the next fiscal year on the arts? We did: $136,000,000.00! Yahoo! This looks like a whole lot when you look at the zeroes. When you whip out your pocket calculator, though, you can see that this amounts to about four bits per person or roughly a penny a week per person. As a federal non-profit charitable organization, The Unconservatory could get into trouble by suggesting or engaging in any form of political action. As a group of musicians, however we can present the facts and let you draw your own conclusions. There's a reason why the Europeans are laughing at us: Most of them can sing in tune when they go to church. ("Hey, buddy, can ya spare another penny this week? I wanna watch an American cellist starve!")

Did you ever notice that many businesses play recorded messages when they do not have a living employee to help you. Wouldn't you prefer silence so you can enjoy your own acoustic environment? Then stand up for your acoustic rights. Our world is getting noisier by the month. Speak up if you want a more peaceful community. Tell businesses to "Just say no!" to hostage acoustics.

Did you ever notice the people on the runway at the airport directing the ground traffic? Those big bulbous attachments covering their ears are there so they will not go deaf. Fact: The front row at most big rock concerts (and many small ones!) can be louder than the ground traffic at airports. If you attend live rock shows, please protect your ears. Acoustic earplugs are available at many music stores and thrift stores. Better yet, become interested in music that does not require any hearing protection. We suggest small solo and ensemble recitals, choral and symphonic concerts, and acoustic folk and jazz concerts. Enjoy your hearing while it lasts!

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Updated: January 25, 2001 (KB)

Copyright 2001 The Unconservatory, All Rights Reserved.