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Speaking The Unspeakable
A slip of the tongue helps maintain vigilance.

by Holly Mulcahy
August 2, 2010

The Teton Valley in Jackson Wyoming is my summer home. Playing in the Grand Teton Music Festival is something I look forward to each summer. Some of the finest orchestra musicians across the country collaborate in excellent concerts and exciting hiking. Musicians compare jobs, past seasons, and catch up on who is doing what and recent trends throughout the field.

As orchestras make hurtful cuts, the summer offers a way to lick wounds and try to gather strength to continue in the fall. More often than not, these conversations move toward the overarching topic of whether or not musicians will continue to be paid a fair wage and why so many board members think we're all doing something we love and why should we get paid for that.
Because of this, I never thought similar words would ever come out of my mouth, but during one of my morning exercise walks past a field of cows, I spoke the unspeakable. My walking partner and I paused briefly to watch two cowboys hop up on their horses to begin moving the herd over to the next field. The early morning weather was perfectly calm, the cowboys were dressed in the expected hats and slickers, they rode beautiful horses while talking to each other, and their trustworthy dog bobbed up and down in the lush green brush as they made their way to the cows.
And that's when I said it.
"I want to do that. How hard can it be anyway? Besides it looks like so much fun. I can't believe they get paid to do something that fun! I wonder if I could go do it for free?"
As soon as the words escaped my mouth I was horrified, but instantly realized how easy it is for a layperson to jump to any conclusions like the one in this cartoon.

So as I prepared for the concert this week, I figured it would be a good time to redirect attention to an old article I wrote a couple years back. It seems relevant now, more than ever:

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