Posted by Tuba4nomore on September 26, 2001 at 15:19:25:
I was getting caught up on some computer time and noticed the thread about my friend and former coworker Chris Olka. I was pleased to read the article and sympathize with chris' statements about our former employer. I noticed and read your note also.
I can assure you, as difficult as it may seem, that what the writer interpolated from chris' statements is true. It is true that Disney provided employment for many years for me also. The pay was good. There were some good times and memories. For awhile, I improved as a commercial musician (that is all the stuff between classical and Jazz music)That might be about it. After a grueling day in 100+ degree heat playing Under the Sea (estimated number of performances exceded 7000 when I stopped counting) for an unresponsive crowd of thousands in the middle of a street where a carreer ending bump is seconds away (A collision had me off the horn for nearly 2 months)for a management staff who's job appears to be taking the fun out of music is enough to knock the pixie dust of of Tink herself. All of this with the overlying fact: THIS IS A LIFETIME JOB WITH TWO WEEKS NOTICE AT ANY TIME!! Yep, whether I realized it at the time or not, my livelyhood was on the line every day and week that I was there, at the whim of some accounting genius or new manager desiring to make a name for his/herself. That makes it hard to give 100% of ones musical/emotional self each day
It is not any one day, event, or person that can make you wish to leave such a gig. It is the accumulation of indignities over time that does it. The sheer repitition of music is enough to pickle ones brain. An even with a working library of 50 or 60 arrangements, you end up playing a crowd pleaser more often than you could imagine. The greatest composer's greatest piece performed in the greatest ensemble will lose some performing joy after 1000 performances. Ask a symphony musician playing Leroy Anderson Christmas Fantasy or Nutcracker AGAIN or Billy Joel the 100,000th time he did piano man and said it was his last for a decade. Combine this with the more than occasional clownish costume and a boss who's previous job experience was being TIGGER!!!!
There are those that still love their job there. Good for them. We all have a different level of tollerance. For some, one season as a student musician is enough, for others 10 years is the breaking point, for a few it is the only place they wish to play for the rest of their lives.Eventually, I too, like Mr. Olka, had the overwhelming need for something different. I now make less money but have more Joy in my music. I feel I am a better player for having the strenghth to leave.