What REALLY happened in Boston

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Posted by Douglas Yeo on January 28, 2003 at 23:24:00:

Well, I got your attention with the message subject. Please read on.

The Tubenet bulletin board is a curious thing - like most bulletin boards and email discussion lists, the Tubenet is not immune from the wise man and the fool co-existing together. It's not always easy to tell the difference, either, especially cloaked behind the coward's veil of anonymity.

I came to the Tubenet nearly two years ago when someone emailed to tell me there were some untruthful postings on it which used my name. Since that time, I've followed it from time to time and spent some idle moments one afternoon looking up all the postings which had some reference to me or the Boston Symphony. Just reading now and then, not posting.

The happy conclusion of yesterday's Boston Symphony tuba audition leads me to bid the Tubenet adieu. While this is my first (and last) post to the Tubenet bulletin board, allow me a chance to make a few observations before I delete the Tubenet bookmark from my computer.

There have been about 100 posts about the BSO tuba auditions over the last few years. Most have been fully vested with fiction. As one who has been aware and involved with every step of the audition process in Boston, it's laughable to have read all the nonsense people have posted as truth. If the audition had been "fixed" for as many people as people "in the know" claimed it had been fixed for, the BSO would be the world's largest tuba ensemble. It should come as no surprise that none of the people for whom the audition was allegedly "fixed" won the job. How could that be, if it was "fixed" for them? Ahh, of course, I read it on Tubenet! Silly me.

The BSO audition process is a matter of public record. Go to the Boston Musician's Union office and you can read it for yourself in the BSO trade agreement. Same for any orchestra. The dealings of the committee, however, are confidential. As they should be. What the committee and the orchestra wants is to hire a fine player for the job. That we have done. That it took us three auditions to do so and the reasons why that happened are things that even "in the know" doesn't know. I know, since I was on all three committees, but it's not for me to say. What IS for me to say is that the amount of bandwidth spent on speculating, wondering, boasting, complaining, dissing, whining, hoping, slandering and pandering has been pretty remarkable.

There has been one person on the Tubenet who actually got it right. "Wrong again" posted a few messages in which he suggested that people were spending too much time writing messages to Tubenet with gossip about the BSO audition and not enough time practicing to win it. He got that right. Nobody on the Tubenet who was "in the know" and was passing on fiction and gossip about the BSO audition was there when the screen came down.

My teacher, Edward Kleinhammer, who played bass trombone in the Chicago Symphony for 45 years, wrote a book with me a few years ago, "Mastering the Trombone." In his forward to the book, he wrote two sentences which bear repeating here:

"World class trombone players [or, in this case, tuba players] do not just happen. Their talents are forged in the dual furnaces of determination and diligence."

Funny, he didn't mention gossip.

I wish all of you well at your next audition. May you be the one who hears those wonderful words from the personnel manager, "We are happy to offer the position to you." I assure you, it will be much more rewarding than the "15 minutes of fame" you might get from posting an unsubstantiated rumor or some hurtful gossip on the Tubenet.


Douglas Yeo
Bass Trombonist
Boston Symphony Orchestra

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