July 7, 1917
Page 3

Shall He Be Drafted into the Fighting Ranks as a Soldier or Shall His Talents Be Employed as an Auxiliary Force to Help Win the Conflict? Prominent Men Give Their Views—Majority Urge Keen Discrimination in Assigning Artists to Tasks That Will Not Endanger the Future of Our Musical Resources

UNLESS a new spirit of understanding is injected into the administration of the Federal and State military draft laws musical art may be gravely demoralized in this country.
A wanton wastage, artistic and economic, is sure to result unless some action is taken for the conservation of music and taken quickly.
Conservation of art is not a speculative theory, not a whimsical fancy; it is a tested, practical, utilitarian movement, recognized in every country of Europe, so far as we can ascertain. No steps have been taken in the United States as yet except in a comparatively minor way, although it is the general understanding among musicians, at least those whom we have come in contact with, that the nation will take action in this direction. There is no cause for alarm, there is really no doubt that we will follow the idea of France, Russia, England and Germany. In the chaos of war preparation it is natural enough that the musicians have been neglected. There have been plenty of opinions expressed publicly as to the necessity of conservation, but of official action there has been none except in one important way, the military sanction of chorus work in the barracks. A word to the authorities from the musicians will probably suffice—who will take the initiative?
Enrolled as Militiamen
As the situation now stands all able-bodied citizens and declarants are to be enrolled in the fighting forces, under certain provisions. In New York State, where most of the artists of the country are located, all men between the ages of 18 and 40 are already enrolled in the militia service. So far as we can learn, men of all occupations are to be appointed to war service quite indiscriminately unless they fall under certain recognized classifications. Not every pianist or violinist or singer is as versatile as Percy Grainger, who has just given unconscious support to our efforts by enlisting as an oboist.
Suppose Mr. Grainger had been subject to draft (he was not, however) and had been summoned before a military board. If he were not able to wield some band instrument he would be expected to prepare for trench duty, probably to Mr. Grainger’s great joy. But is he not doing the maximum of duty now, as an oboist, probably preparing to conduct his own bands, and as a soloist able to command large sums for benefit recitals? Under favorable circumstances the draft board members might have regarded Mr. Grainger circumspectly, suddenly have remembered that he was the inventor of the glorified "jazz" band, and quickly recommended him for general director of ; military music. But seriously, can we always hope for such favorable conditions and must we rely on chance to provide for the nation and its artists?
Lenient in Europe
The very presence of the unparalleled large number of European artists in this country is sufficient proof of the policy of the other nations. Many musicians, notably from France and Italy, have been in actual service, it is true. But it is significant that many of these artists have been permitted to leave their countries.
A surprising leniency has been shown by Germany, we are informed by Dr. O. P. Jacob, our European manager, who recently returned from abroad. The attitude of the German Imperial Government toward the artists seems to be based on its estimate of the inadaptability of the musician for the rigorous life of fighting at the front, Dr. Jacob tells me. This is not the place, however, to discuss the psychological or physical fitness of the artist; we are confining ourselves to the utility of conservation. It is interesting note, though, that Germany has extended its leniency to the motion picture "stars," probably for simple psychological reasons: to help sustain the national morale. Now let us leave the Freudian side.
How can the artist serve best? Doubtless by the practice of his art rather than by the valor of his arm. The methods and means remain to be decided upon; there are many practical schemes evolved which require but a starting hand to make realities. For example, a certain American composer of prominence who knows perhaps every artist here has devised a method of "recruiting" musicians for war benefit purposes. Virtually every artist approached has signified willingness or eagerness to aid in this way.
Plight of Music Teachers
As another illustration of the need of concerted action, let us call attention to the threatened plight of many music teachers. The physicians have taken steps through their central organization, the American· Medical Association, to provide for the patients and families of the practitioners who are sent to the front. Certain doctors will look after the practice of their absent colleagues, turning over fifty per cent of the fees to the families of the absentees. This plan might, perhaps, be adopted by the multitude of teachers and artists in general; this is but a suggestion of the problems facing the embryo War Council of Musicians. Let us not be blind to a very real situation.
It has taken us many weeks to reach these representative musicians, and the list is yet far from being complete; but the appended statements, we submit, may be considered as fairly indicative of the views of the great body of artists in America and surely evidence that the best thought of the land will give thorough co-operation in conserving music, preventing futile wastage and promoting the cause of the nation. —ALFRED HUMAN.
—Should Musicians Be Drafted Into Army Service?
[Excerpts from the Statements.]
CLEOFONTE CAMPANINI: I believe the United States Government should give artists special consideration when drafted into the army or navy.
ALBERT SPALDING: It would be foolish to deny the inadvisability of putting into trenches a man who could render greater service to his country in another capacity.
HENRY T. FINCK: To enlist acknowledged geniuses would be a crime. They cannot be replaced.
DAVID BISPHAM: I think musicians should not be sent to the front where they would incur very great risk.
WALTER DAMROSCH: An intelligent government will in time of danger apportion to each citizen such work as he is best fitted for.
ADOLF TANDLER: All I know is that music and war have nothing in common and, from my own experience, that musicians generally have proven to be poor soldiers.
ERNEST BLOCH: Of course it would be more rational if one could spare the men of creative power.
MAX ZACH: I can see no reason why the musician should be released any more than a painter or sculptor or poet unless we look to music in the first place to arouse enthusiasm as well as to give comfort.


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