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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000481.txt from 1995/03

From: Laurence Liberson <hardreed@-----.COM>
Subj: Re: Eating after playing
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 07:43:46 -0500

Regarding Dan's comment about gaseous colleagues on stage, I thought you'd
might be interested in an exchange of letters and an accompanying newspaper
article...I swear that this is all true and legit!

Exhibit I: Letter from Management.

Kansas City Symphony
William McGlaughlin, Music Director/Conductor
Susan M. Franano, General Manager

November 24, 1993

Ken Lawrence
6316 East 133rd Street
Grandview, Missouri 64030

Dear Ken,

It has come to my attention that on November 23, 1993 in the
Midland pit during a Nutcracker rehearsal you farted loudly,
creating an overpowering smell.

Subsequently, you were asked by Nan Funkhouser not to do so
again. Instead of apologizing for your behavior, you then
engaged in confrontative conversation with her which disrupted
the rehearsal.

Your behavior is totally unacceptable and a violation of the
work rules of The Kansas City Symphony.

You will recall that both Frank Franano and I addressed this
very behavior with you and other musicians on September 25,
1993 at the Lyric Theatre following the Madame Butterfly
performance in Kirksville. You were warned at that time that
such behavior by anyone would not be tolerated.

This letter is to notify you that continued such behavior on
your part will be considered insubordination and/or harrassment
of another musician as outlined in the Personnel Policies,

Sincerely yours,
Susan M. Franano

Exhibit II: The Musician Response.

Ken Lawrence
Grandview, MO

Mrs. Susan Franano, Manager
Kansas City Symphony
Kansas City, MO

Dear Susan,

I have received your letter concerning the complaint
about what was misconceived as a behavioral problem, but in
actuality is a condition over which I have no control or
blame. I suppose that now is the time to reveal that I belong
to a minority of humans categorized as "Gastro-intestinally
Challenged" (or GI challenged).
We are a normal functioning group of people and we need
to be accepted without prejudice and anger. This particular
condition causes us much pain and suffering from the
discrimination and intolerant reactions we receive from others
who are uninformed about us. In fact, the complaint received
against me showed classic symptoms of "Gasophobia".
Gasophobic behavior is marked by an unnatural fear to
be around the GI challenged with the unfounded prejudice that
we are rudely and deliberately farting, and that furthermore,
these "farts" may smell foul. I must insist that we are NOT
farting. In reality, we have an anatomical difference (which
good manners prevents me from describing) that causes the
audible passing of wind. Scientists are not sure yet if this
is a genetic or environmental condition. However, we do know
that stress and fear caused by constantly trying to mask the
condition, or hide it in bathroom stalls, does seem to
aggravate the noise. Certainly, the pressure placed upon me in
the tight quarters of the pit situation has resulted in the
current situation of mistrust and misunderstanding.
But now that I have come "out of the bathroom" (so to
speak) I believe that much of the pressure to emit these
uncontrollable noisy emissions will lessen. Thankfully we now
have a President and Congress sensitive to the needs and rights
of the "challenged" citizens of this country and hopefully laws
will soon be passed guaranteeing our equal rights. I would
encourage management to provide sensitivity awareness programs
to help make the gasophobes among us more compassionate and
caring human beings.
By the way, one of the things which distinguishes this
condition from "farting" is the GI challenged do not emit
offensive odors. Perhaps those who accuse should look closer
around them for the source of the rude smell. As this
condition in no way affects my job performance, I feel that any
further harrassment about my condition is really
discrimination. I hope this clears the air on the subject.
Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season.

Ken Lawrence
V.P., KC Chapter for the
Gastro-intestinally Challenged

Exhibit III: The Media Report

Kansas City Star
Thursday, February 3, 1994

by Hearne Christopher Jr.

KC Symphony letters fly over a 'disruptive' bodily function.

Did you hear about the oboist in the Kansas City
Symphony who got suspended for tooting the wrong horn?
Late last year symphony general manager Susan M.
Franano wrote Grandview musician Ken Lawrence that she had been
notified that on Nov. 23, 1993, in he Midland pit during a
"Nutcracker" rehearsal, Lawrence had passed gas in a loud
manner, "creating an overpowering smell."
"Subsequently, you were asked by (horn player) Nan
Funkhouser not to do so again. Instead of apologizing for your
behavior, you then engaged in confrontative conversation with
her, which disrupted the rehearsal.
"Your behavior is totally unacceptable and a violation
of the work rules of the Kansas City Symphony."
It didn't take long for other symphony musicians to
hear of Lawrence's reprimand.
Moved by what he thought was the humor in the
situation, symphony flutist Lamar Hunt Jr. and his wife,
Jocelyn, penned a tongue-in-cheek response to Franano's
letter. "We wrote it and gave it to (Lawrence) and he signed
it and sent it back to (Franano)," Lamar says. "And he sent it
to many other orchestras in the United States."
The letter explains that Lawrence was not deliberately
being disruptive. Instead, it says, he has a physical
condition over which he has no control. "I belong to a
minority of humans categorized as 'gastro-intestinally
challenged' (or GI challenged)," the letter says, adding that
Lawrence "would encourage management to provide sensitivity
awareness programs to help make the gastrophobes among us more
compassionate and caring human beings."
Franano wasn't amused. Citing Lawrence's "facetious
response" and his sharing of her correspondence with other
orchestras, she suspended him without pay for two weeks. That
suspension is under appeal.
Both Franano and Lawrence declined comment for this
"The way you play wind instruments, a lot of pressure
is exerted on the lower extremities," Lamar says, adding that
he thinks the issue could have been handled with more decorum.
"I'd just take him aside and say, "Hey, somebody got offended
by your passing gas; don't do that anymore.'"

Exhibit IV: Larry's Comment.

It's quite apparent that, despite the many qualified people
with managerial strengths, very few of the best and brightest go
into arts administration!

Truth *is* stranger than fiction, eh?

Larry Liberson
Detroit Symphony Orchestra

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