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Small business owner challenges people to hire furloughed musicians

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) -- When we think about people who are furloughed, someone working in manufacturing or an office may come to mind.

However, people in the arts are struggling right now, as well.

"I miss my music," Amy Beatty says.

Beatty hired a quartet from the Fort Wayne Philharmonic to provide music for customers at the estate sale she's running.

A former board member for the Phil, she says if her small company can afford to do it, so can you.

"Unfortunately now because of COVID, the orchestra has essentially shut down for the rest of 2020," she says.

The musicians say they're grateful to be playing, and are picking up gigs where they can.

She's issuing a challenge for people to think outside the box to hire one or several musicians for any occasion, like sending them to play in your elderly parents' back yard while they're isolating, or hire them for other occasions, like an anniverary or birthday.

"Hire them for your neighborhood block party. Have them for your lunch hour for your company out on your parking lot or on your lawn or wherever you're having employees eat when we can't all be confined in the cafeteria," Beatty says.

The musicians say they're grateful to be playing, and are picking up gigs where they can.

"We want to play, and people are desperate to hear, you know? And they're desperate to feed their souls. Not with just something coming out online. They want real live music!" Fort Wayne Philharmonic violinist Debra Graham says.

Shoppers at the estate sale say they were pleasantly surprised to hear live music as they walked around and made their purchases.

"Oh, it's wonderful and they're just so talented. Just so talented. My husband's out there in the barn looking for things, and I said, 'Oh, they were playing.' I said, 'Let me just find a chair and sit here,'" shopper Diana Ehler says.

The musicians say it's been difficult to get by now that they're not being paid by the Philharmonic, and they're worried about the future.

"It's just been isolated events like this, weddings and that, which we're grateful for. But the uncertainty of the fall, we just don't know," Graham says.

Beatty says if people think cratively, they'll come up with ways to hire musicians that will end up being a win-win situation -- employment for them, and bringing live music to people who might really like or need to hear it right now.

If you want to hire members of the Philharmonic, you can call the office at (260) 481-0770 or the Fort Wayne Musicians Association at (260) 420-4446.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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