I’d Rather Wait

Are all musicians so beaten down by the COVID-19 pandemic that they will do almost anything to play? Arbitrary and draconian rules are regularly being thrust upon us creative types.

A symphony orchestra in the Midwest recently rolled out their virus protocol for rehearsals and performances. A mandatory serology test of each musician was mandated upon arrival into town. Their chairs had to be separated six feet apart. Shifting around any equipment was forbidden. If moved, it must be re-measured and readjusted by the stage manager. The obligatory N95 mask must be worn.

In a show of mercy, wind players were allowed to remove their masks when their instrument actually touched their lips. How benevolent.

The orchestra performed their show outdoors in a baseball stadium. Why? To avoid all the dangers of the concert hall. Due to 20mph winds and torrential rain, they performed a Mozart overture before being sent home.

Does that sound like fun? Is that even remotely interesting? Was it worth the money they received? I’m sure it wasn’t the regular fee they usually received due to “these unprecedented times.”

In a post on the American Federation Of Musicians website regarding COVID-19 protocols and safety practices, here are some of the dozens of restrictions made on performers nowadays:

  • Practice physical distancing. Keep six feet/two meters away from people to the extent possible.

I’m not doing ANY of that. I’d rather wait until all of this is over. I prefer to do other things for money because this isn’t fun; it dampens creativity, engenders fear and distrust, and is just flat out stupid.

I’ve written to express my frustration and disgust with our profession being deemed nonessential over and over again. I’ve never felt less valued and so disrespected as a musician as I do now. I want to know, does the government not care if artists disappear into thin air? Is anyone in the music biz willing to speak out against this madness? Never-ending lockdowns are crippling our livelihoods, and these bizarre restrictions are destroying what fun is left in music creation today.

I’ve decided not to take any restricted playing opportunities until COVID craziness has died down. I’ve had enough, and I sure won’t subject myself to these rules. We’re not making music anymore; we’re merely following orders. Most of these codes are mandated by someone in government who has no concept of how musical ensembles operate. The CDC is not God. They sure aren’t business people, and they are horrible central planners. They don’t know the music business, nor do they know what they are doing. The CDC actually stands for Can’t Decide Completely.

We seem to be living in two different realities. Some people choose to live their lives as human beings. Others seem to travel through life as a moral scold hunkered deep underground in a hermetically sealed bunker, tweeting their outrage at those who reject constant gloom and doom.

I choose life as a human being. I’ll wait to play again. We’ll go back to normal. If Sweden can, so can we.

Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University’s School of Business and is a 28 year veteran of the fast-paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in several hit broadway and off-broadway musicals, including “Tick, tick…BOOM!, Altar Boyz, Memphis The Musical, and Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Also, Clayton has worked on: Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q.

You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

Originally published at https://claytoncraddock.substack.com.

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Clayton Craddock

Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud.