[Dixielandjazz] A trus story, supposedly

Bob Romans cellblk7 at comcast.net
Sat Jan 8 15:25:29 PST 2005

This could NEVER happen in a Dixieland Jazz Band!!!
Bob Romans

Kansas City Symphony
William McGlaughlin, Music Director/Conductor
Susan M. Franano, General Manager

Ken Lawrence
6316 East 133rd Street
Grandview, Missouri 64030

Dear Ken,

It has come to my attention that on November 23, 1993 in the Midland pit
during a Nutcracker rehearsal you farted loudly, creating an overpowering

Subsequently, you were asked by Nan Funkhouser not to do so again. Instead
of apologizing for your behavior, you then engaged in confrontative
conversation with her which disrupted the rehearsal.

Your behavior is totally unacceptable and a violation of the work rules of
The Kansas City Symphony.

You will recall that both Frank Franano and I addressed this very behavior
with you and other musicians on September 25, 1993 at the Lyric Theatre
following the Madame Butterfly performance in Kirksville. You were warned at
that time that such behavior by anyone would not be tolerated.

This letter is to notify you that continued such behavior on your part will
be considered insubordination and/or harassment of another musician as
outlined in the Personnel Policies, XVII.I.

Sincerely yours,
Susan M. Franano
Exhibit II: The Musician Response.

Ken Lawrence
Grandview, MO

Mrs. Susan Franano, Manager
Kansas City Symphony
Kansas City, MO

Dear Susan,

I have received your letter concerning the complaint about what was
misconceived as a behavioral problem, but in actuality is a condition over
which I have no control or blame. I suppose that now is the time to reveal
that I belong to a minority of humans categorized as "Gastro-intestinally
Challenged" (or GI challenged).

We are a normal functioning group of people and we need to be accepted
without prejudice and anger. This particular condition causes us much pain
and suffering from the discrimination and intolerant reactions we receive
from others who are uninformed about us. In fact, the complaint received
against me showed classic symptoms of "Gasophobia".

Gasophobic behavior is marked by an unnatural fear to be around the GI
challenged with the unfounded prejudice that we are rudely and deliberately
farting, and that furthermore, these "farts" may smell foul. I must insist
that we are NOT farting. In reality, we have an anatomical difference (which
good manners prevents me from describing) that causes the audible passing of
wind. Scientists are not sure yet if this is a genetic or environmental
condition. However, we do know that stress and fear caused by constantly
trying to mask the condition, or hide it in bathroom stalls, does seem to
aggravate the noise. Certainly, the pressure placed upon me in the tight
quarters of the pit situation has resulted in the current situation of
mistrust and misunderstanding.

But now that I have come "out of the bathroom" (so to speak) I believe that
much of the pressure to emit these uncontrollable noisy emissions will
lessen. Thankfully we now have a President and Congress sensitive to the
needs and rights of the "challenged" citizens of this country and hopefully
laws will soon be passed guaranteeing our equal rights. I would encourage
management to provide sensitivity awareness programs to help make the
gasophobes among us more compassionate and caring human beings.

By the way, one of the things which distinguishes this condition from
"farting" is the GI challenged do not emit offensive odors. Perhaps those
who accuse should look closer around them for the source of the rude smell.
As this condition in no way affects my job performance, I feel that any
further harassment about my condition is really discrimination. I hope this
clears the air on the subject. Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season.


Ken Lawrence
V.P., KC Chapter for the
Gastro-intestinally Challenged

Exhibit III: The Media Report

Kansas City Star
Thursday, February 3, 1994

by Hearne Christopher Jr.

KC Symphony letters fly over a 'disruptive' bodily function.

Did you hear about the oboist in the Kansas City Symphony who got suspended
for tooting the wrong horn?

Late last year symphony general manager Susan M. Franano wrote Grandview
musician Ken Lawrence that she had been notified that on Nov. 23, 1993, in he
Midland pit during a "Nutcracker" rehearsal, Lawrence had passed gas in a
loud manner, "creating an overpowering smell."

"Subsequently, you were asked by (horn player) Nan Funkhouser not to do so
again. Instead of apologizing for your behavior, you then engaged in
confrontative conversation with her, which disrupted the rehearsal.

"Your behavior is totally unacceptable and a violation of the work rules of
the Kansas City Symphony."

It didn't take long for other symphony musicians to hear of Lawrence's

Moved by what he thought was the humor in the situation, symphony flutist
Lamar Hunt Jr. and his wife, Jocelyn, penned a tongue-in-cheek response to
Franano's letter. "We wrote it and gave it to (Lawrence) and he signed it
and sent it back to (Franano)," Lamar says. "And he sent it to many other
orchestras in the United States."

The letter explains that Lawrence was not deliberately being disruptive.
Instead, it says, he has a physical condition over which he has no control.
"I belong to a minority of humans categorized as 'gastro-intestinally
challenged' (or GI challenged)," the letter says, adding that Lawrence "would
encourage management to provide sensitivity awareness programs to help make
the gastrophobes among us more compassionate and caring human beings."

Franano wasn't amused. Citing Lawrence's "facetious response" and his
sharing of her correspondence with other orchestras, she suspended him
without pay for two weeks. That suspension is under appeal.

Both Franano and Lawrence declined comment for this column.

"The way you play wind instruments, a lot of pressure is exerted on the lower
extremities," Lamar says, adding that he thinks the issue could have been
handled with more decorum. "I'd just take him aside and say, "Hey, somebody
got offended by your passing gas; don't do that anymore.'"

Exhibit IV: Larry's Comment.

It's quite apparent that, despite the many qualified people
with managerial strengths, very few of the best and brightest go into arts

Truth *is* stranger than fiction, eh?

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list