Friday, October 06, 2006

Fallout from IBMA military salute

It turns out that the jingoistic display during the IBMA awards show disturbed some other people as much as it did me, and has generated a controversy about it on the association's board. According to an official email to IBMA members, the Navy bluegrass band Country Current deviated from the approved program by inserting its salute to the armed services.

As fallout from the brouhaha, IBMA board chairman David Crow submitted his resignation "as a statement of accountability," although the board evidently hopes that he will reconsider.

The email said that the military-themed song had been rejected by the board "in respect of the fact that the IBMA is an 'international' organization." Apparently the band did not honor its agreement to substitute a different song that would be appropriate for the full membership of the organization. The board is now conducting an investigation to learn how and why the program change occurred.

In the meantime, Crow has stepped down and vice chairman Greg Cahill is functioning as acting chairman. The email says that the board has asked Crow to reconsider his resignation.

The other portion of the military salute, with Rhonda Vincent performing a song while American servicemen and woman joined her on stage, went off as originally planned.

In my earlier comment on the program, I discussed the cross-cultural appeal of bluegrass but focused entirely on segments of the American bluegrass community. I wasn't even thinking of the very active membership of IBMA that comes from various European and Asian countries, which of course makes the pro-military display even more inappropriate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This account of the story doesn't ring true with most others I've read. Country Current was ask to be a part of the program and willing donated their time and talents like every other group that performed. They are employed by the U.S. Navy and military theme songs are part of their regular show. They were not notified they could not do their standard show until after arriving in Nashville. The problem arose when some "un-named" foriegn members complained to David Crow that Country Currents song selection honoring soldiers and veterans was "offensive" to them. That's when David Crow stepped in and demanded Country Current change their program. It is quite clear that David Crow was in the wrong by demanding Country Current change their progam to appease the politics of a small minority. It's a dangerous slope we are starting down when organizations start DEMANDING what songs artist can or cannot play . David Crow and the anonymous foreign complainers owe a huge apology to Country Current, the IBMA members and the U.S. Servicemen who have been slandered and embarassed by their short-sighted, and selfish actions.