Hell No We Won’t Blow — When Musicians Strike

 

The Twin Cities is in the midst of a strike by two orchestras, the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. When I think of strikers I tend to think of burly, sweaty
construction workers, average-Joe civil servants or blue collar assembly workers. I have seen nurses on strike and teachers on strike but I have never seen classical musicians on strike. I have a feeling Jimmy Hoffa never equipped the unions to work with teamsters who really carry violins in their violin cases. Union leaders would be forced to adapt their traditional strike “methods” for this particular group.
There will be picket lines and picket signs. The traditional “LOCAL NO. SUCH-AND-SUCH ON STRIKE” seems so flat for groups as sharp as these. In fact, the dignity of these groups makes you think you’ll see signs like: “PLEASE GIVE US MORE MONEY. THANK YOU.” and “WE’D REALLY APPRECIATE A BETTER CONTRACT. HAVE A NICE DAY.”
But, as a creative artist and supporter of unions, I would like to suggest some signs that will show not only your devotion to music, but your commitment to a fair contract. Here are some ideas:
·      We’ll Beat No Drums For Management Scum
·      We Read Management Fortissimo
·      Kiss My Brass Section
·      You’re Killing Us A Poco A Poco
·      Management Plucks
·      Our Cymbals Won’t Crash Without More Cash
·      Impresario Unfair To Musicians
·      If Our Paycheck Has No More Do —You’ll Have No More Mi
·      The Bach Stops Here
·      If You Don’t Pay This Fella You’ll Be Singing A Cappella
·      Duet To Management Before They Duet To Us
Of course, picket line chants really make or break a strike. While not Gregorian chants or Wagner arias, here are some ideas that will get your point across and are not only fitting for this occasion, but they can be done in three-quarters time:
·      No more Bach — No more Ravel; Take your offer straight to Hell
·      Two Bits, Four Bits, Six Bits, A Dollar; If that’s all you’re paying you’ll hear no more Mahler
·      Hell No We Won’t Blow
·      What do we want? — BETTER PAY; When do we want it? — ALLEGRO
Brothers and sisters of the note, your solidarity in this strike effort will show management that just because you are refined musicians at the top of your craft, you can’t be pushed around. I believe your motto should be:
United we Crescendo, divided we Decrescendo.