Sabbath Work

Anthony A. Pasquale

If I am to take the hard-line view that work on the Sabbath, except in the service of the church, is not acceptable, then I feel there is not much chance of success as a professional performing musician.

As soon as I say this, I realize that there are exceptions. But carefully consider the facts. The training of an orchestral musician requires years of concentrated effort. Part of this effort must be in an orchestra. There are virtually no orchestras that I know of that do not ever perform on Sabbaths. You could say, "Look at the exceptions." If you look closely, orchestras have changed their schedules for the extremely gifted. But what of the general orchestral performer? Again, there are exceptions. But they are extremely rare.

Even in Israel, performances occur on Sabbaths. I auditioned in New York for an Israeli orchestra a few years back. The job prospectus gave the pay scales for different concerts. The only difference with Sabbath concerts was the pay. These musicians received three times the normal scale to work on Sabbath!

There is a handful of people who are working as musicians and have remained Adventists. These people have had to make decisions which have taken them slightly left of center of mainstream Adventism. Such people must be prepared for some deep, soul-searching questions that only the individual can answer, and then must be prepared to live their lives in a manner for which typical Adventism has not prepared them.

I do know that for me there is only one real choice: to live and to share.

Summer 1988 Newsletters


Anthony Pasquale, a clarinetist, wrote the 1985 article while teaching at Union College. In a conversation with him in 1988, he asserted that the second article more accurately reflected his thinking. Att that time Pasquale was completing a doctorate at Rutgers University, where he served as principal clarinetist in the University's orchestra, and conducting musicales at Drew 7heatre in East Hampton, New York.