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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000403.txt from 2005/05

From: "Shaw, Kenneth R." <>
Subj: [kl] Playing in Heat and Cold
Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 17:07:29 -0400

On the Doublereed list, there's been an interesting discussion on contractual limitations on playing when the temperature is too high or too low. Of course, few double reed players have plastic instruments, those that are available are expensive (especially bassoons), and the small bores are more sensitive to temperature changes.


The Philadelphia Musicians' Union (Local 77, American Federation of Musicians) policy:

21. Temperature Restrictions: At no time shall musicians be required to
perform if the temperature--onstage with full lighting--15 minutes before
the scheduled concert time, is 95 degrees or higher, or 65 degrees or lower.
If the temperature cannot be corrected within 45 of the scheduled concert
time, musicians must be paid in full for the service.

There doesn't appear to be a limitation on humidity. 90 degrees at 5% humidity would be at least tolerable, but at 95% humidity . . .=20


A member of the Augsburg Symphony says:

The Augsburg Philharmonic Orchestra plays every year the last five or six weeks of its season in an outdoor setting . Since in our evening performances maximum temperatures have never been an issue, but minimum temperatures are, we have a rather complicated regulation only about the latter.

There are three electronic thermometers installed in our pit, one near the concertmaster stand, one on the woodwind side, and a third on the brass section side, each at about a height of 1,20 m. The temperature measurements have to be taken in the presence of at least one member of our orchestra committee and one representative of the theater directory. The temperature in question is always the average of the readings of the three permanently installed thermometers.

* At 5 pm the temperature has to be at a minimum of 17=B0C [62.6=B0F]. If this minimum
hasn't been reached, the performance at 8.30 pm will be cancelled. This has
happened strangely rarely, even on very cold days.

* A second and last measurement is taken during the interval of the
performance. Here the temperature has to be still at a minimum of 14,5=B0C [58.1=B0F] for the performance to go on. After this point there is no more temperature limit. Our record so far has been 8=B0C [46.4=B0F] at the end of the performance on a rather fresh July night. You can imagine what it sounds like under such circumstances.

* The tickets will be refunded to the audience if the show is cancelled altogether, or if it is not resumed after the break. Once a single note has
been performed after this point, there are no more refunds. The risk of this
happening because of rain is a lot greater than because of cold, though.

* Substitute players get half the fee if they have to show up but don't play
which happens not too infrequently because of rain. Once the performance has started, they get their full fee. Fees for having kept the appointment in case of a cancelled performance are subject to individual negotiations. The
orchestra members receive their monthly salaries independently of the number of individual services played.


In the West Point Band, I played honor guards (outdoor ceremonies, with no marching) where the temperature was in the low 20s. As you can imagine, the clarinetists got out very little sound.=20

I also sang a choral concert at The Cloisters where the temperature was well over 100, with 100% humidity. We stripped down to t-shirts and never performed better. Everything was wonderfully lubricated. Later we went to a Szechuan restaurant air conditioned down to about 50 degrees and had the hottest items on the menu.

What are your experiences/war stories=3F

Ken Shaw

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