Topic: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

"The following letter has been circulated overnight by the League of American Orchestras about new regulations on musical instruments that we highlighted yesterday..."

http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/ … e-usa.html

I know that Heckel bassoons 9000 (c. 1950s) series and older have ivory bell rings. I am not certain about 10,000 - 12,000 series. I believe that 13,000 and 14,000 series Heckels have sythetic ivory rings.

http://idrs.org/images/ivoryon7a.jpg

Yoshi Ishikawa
Professor of Bassoon, University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Music
Editor, IDRS OnLine Publications

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

A letter from the president of AFM.

March 25, 2014

Dear AFM members:

Many of you have contacted our offices concerning the new Department of Interior-US Fish and Wildlife Service Order that bans the import, export, sale and transfer of ownership of items containing African elephant ivory.

This is to advise you that your union has been fully engaged on this matter from the instant the Obama administration abruptly issued the order released by the Department of the Interior.

As you may know, the entire American arts community has reacted negatively to this new ban that was prompted by President Obama's February 11th announcement that the US will now join the rest of the world in attempting to curb African rhinoceros and elephant poaching in order to discourage illegal trafficking in rhino and elephant tusks, driven in large part by rising demand in China.

Since July 2013, AFM Legislative Director Alfonso Pollard met regularly with US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) senior staff regarding Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES) issues as relates to musical instruments.  The AFM and related interests have been working CITES senior staff toward a musical passport solution for artists traveling internationally.  The meetings have focused on the need for a comprehensive travel permit for instruments made from rare woods and endangered species components. 

DURING THOSE MEETINGS, UFWS GAVE NO DETAIL ABOUT THE TIMING OF THE ORDER'S RELEASE ON ELEPHANT IVORY.  With the serious implications to the livelihood of professional musicians across the country uppermost in mind, the AFM is currently using its congressional influence to revise the governmental rulemaking process at the highest levels of the federal government. 

We want you to know that our highly qualified senior staff is working to resolve this matter before it can have a negative effect upon our industry.   Please review the April International Musician Legislative column which is devoted to this matter, and get involved. Sign on to our petition which will coincide with the release of the IM, and most importantly, fill out our AFM survey.  The personal information you provide will help your Union move legislators to action.    Thank you for your interest and thank you for your membership. 

Sincerely,


Raymond M. Hair, Jr., International President
American Federation of Musicians
of the United States and Canada

Yoshi Ishikawa
Professor of Bassoon, University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Music
Editor, IDRS OnLine Publications

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/ … ith-ivory/

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Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

Thank God - sanity seems to have prevailed!

James Jeter, D.M.A., NYC Bassoonist
"To love human beings is still the only thing worth living for; without that love, you really do not live." Soren Kierkegaard
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandhi  "Mach' es kurz! Am Juengsten Tag ist's nur ein Furz!" Goethe

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

Yes thanks Delmar!

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

Just received this from the AFM, yesterday:

May 16, 2014
Dear Member

On Thursday, May 15, 2014, US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Director Daniel Ashe amended a February 25, 2014 Order which placed immediate and unprecedented new travel restrictions on persons traveling with items having component parts of African Ivory. The original Order adversely and substantially affected any musician now seeking to travel abroad with musical instruments containing components fashioned in whole or in part from African elephant ivory.  Yesterday's amended Order came about as a result of the tireless work by the AFM and other interested stakeholders to persuade both the executive and legislative branches of government that relief to the problems musicians now face as a result of the Order should be implemented on an expedited basis. Unfortunately, the amended Order falls short of a comprehensive solution for reasons I will illustrate below.

To be clear, the AFM does not oppose President Obama's efforts to curb African rhinoceros and elephant poaching to discourage illegal trafficking in rhino and elephant tusks, driven in large part by rising demand in China. I also want to thank those of you who signed on to our letter to the White House and who completed our survey on the matter, all of which helped create the sense of urgency and provide additional data necessary to move the US government to reassess the matter.

Though the amended Order provides some relief because it now exempts musical instruments transferred from one person to another prior to the new date of February 14, 2014, USFWS has NOT provided clearer guidance on how to traverse the CITES permit process. Specifically, the amended Order continues to invoke Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) permit regulations.  The Service still requires the following requirements be met before you can safely travel in and out of the US with a musical instrument containing African elephant ivory.  It now requires that:

1.    The ivory contained in the instrument was legally acquired prior to February 26, 1976;
2.    The instrument must not have subsequently been transferred from one person to another person for financial gain or profit since February 25, 2014;
3.    The person or group qualifies for a CITES musical instrument certificate;
4.    The musical instrument containing African elephant ivory must be accompanied by a valid CITES musical instrument certificate or an equivalent CITES document.

Number 4 above is the big rub.  Musicians will still need to produce ownership documents in order to apply for an official CITES certificate or passport.  Unfortunately, oftentimes a bill of sale and/or documents that certify the instrument's content or "pedigree” and proving time of purchase are almost impossible to ascertain.  Moreover, due to lack of guidance from USFWS, there is still confusion over where to go, either online or in person, to apply for and obtain the correct permit.  Since musicians have been singled out, we believe there should be a one-stop online center for information specifically regarding musical instruments.  These issues should have been addressed along with the amended Order as well.  They too must be resolved.

This week I was in Washington DC working with AFM National Legislative Director Alfonso Pollard, visiting with congressional offices on this and other important legislative issues.  My visit included a meeting at the Department of Transportation to address procedural issues relating to an upcoming meeting with the airline industry in an effort to reach an agreement on implementing previously adopted legislation covering musical instruments as carry-on baggage. 

As for the African Ivory issue, please be assured that I am continuing to reach out to Congress and the White House to push for a final comprehensive solution.  We thank you and we also thank our friends in the Congress for supporting our efforts. We vow not to stop until there is an appropriate resolution on this and other legislative matters that affect the livelihood of professional musicians.

Please continue to work with us and add your voice to the debate.  We appreciate your participation and your membership.  We will keep you apprised.

Sincerely,
Raymond M. Hair, Jr., International President
American Federation of Musicians
of the United States and Canada

James Jeter, D.M.A., NYC Bassoonist
"To love human beings is still the only thing worth living for; without that love, you really do not live." Soren Kierkegaard
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandhi  "Mach' es kurz! Am Juengsten Tag ist's nur ein Furz!" Goethe

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

Dear all,

I am planning on moving from the USA back to Hong Kong in a few months.  I own quite a few instruments, including a late 4000-series Heckel bassoon, which I believe has an ivory bell.  I bought the instrument through a private sale in around 2006, and do not have a receipt for it.  Is there anything I should do before I take the instrument with me?  Like getting a certificate for it? 

Would it be better if I ship it instead of hand-carry it (so that it will be in a cargo container instead of with me through immigration)? 

Also, do you foresee future problems if I bring the instrument back to the US?  I may consider selling it before I leave if it is too much of a hassle.  Thanks a lot in advance for the advice.

Sincerely,
Wai Kit Leung

oboe (French, Viennese, baroque), bassoon (German, French, baroque), shawm, dulcian

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Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

It's potentially worse than anyone could have imagined. Talking with a guy I know yesterday who does restorations of piano keyboards, he said the Feds could nail you if you cross a state line with an instrument containing ivory.

Let's say you have a Steinway grand built in the '20s with its original ivory key coverings. You want to ship the piano to your aunt in Baltimore, but unless you can produce an original document from Steinway showing that the ivory is pre-ban, once the piano crosses a state line you are liable for fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as possible jail time.

According to my friend, it's not enough to demonstrate that the ivory keys are obviously ancient--these officials want documentation dating from the time of manufacture or sale, preferably notarized.

Christopher Brodersen
Maker of Historical Keyboard Instruments
Reviewer/contributor - Fanfare Magazine
Amateur bassoonist, baroque oboist, baroque bassoonist

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

How long has that law been on the books though? Is that one of those things that's technically been the law but never enforced? Or is the state line thing a part of the new executive order?

What a disaster.

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

Christopher - do you know for a fact that this is true, regarding crossing state borders with instruments containing a tiny amount of ivory?  I thought it was only when one left the country for international travel, that it was a problem? Have any bassoonists had trouble flying around our nation, with federal agents confiscating bassoon bells?  I'm headed for MI in mid-July - do I have to get a CITES passport for this, as well?  Jim

James Jeter, D.M.A., NYC Bassoonist
"To love human beings is still the only thing worth living for; without that love, you really do not live." Soren Kierkegaard
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandhi  "Mach' es kurz! Am Juengsten Tag ist's nur ein Furz!" Goethe

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

Also, it's now law that one can't sell a bassoon in the States (or otherwise, I assume) if it indeed has a minute amount of ivory on the bell. So, if one wanted to sell their instrument they would have to get rid of the ivory on the bell, correct?  Perhaps it's time to think about donating one's instruments to a music school or conservatory in the future?!  Oy, vey.  What a mess.

James Jeter, D.M.A., NYC Bassoonist
"To love human beings is still the only thing worth living for; without that love, you really do not live." Soren Kierkegaard
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandhi  "Mach' es kurz! Am Juengsten Tag ist's nur ein Furz!" Goethe

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

Very interesting post on replacing ivory with metal ring on IDRS Facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.george … 113111406/

Yoshi Ishikawa
Professor of Bassoon, University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Music
Editor, IDRS OnLine Publications

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

Jim Jeter wrote:

Christopher - do you know for a fact that this is true, regarding crossing state borders with instruments containing a tiny amount of ivory?  I thought it was only when one left the country for international travel, that it was a problem? Have any bassoonists had trouble flying around our nation, with federal agents confiscating bassoon bells?  I'm headed for MI in mid-July - do I have to get a CITES passport for this, as well?  Jim

Sorry, Jim--didn't see your post until just now. Although I don't know of any actual cases, I have to respect what this guy says, since he does deal in piano restorations using ivory. The Feds, after all, control interstate commerce. But it they have the manpower to look for ivory in every semi that crosses a state line, kinda doubt it.

Christopher Brodersen
Maker of Historical Keyboard Instruments
Reviewer/contributor - Fanfare Magazine
Amateur bassoonist, baroque oboist, baroque bassoonist

Re: An official warning on taking instruments into the USA

There are apparently state laws that prevent the sale of ivory even within the state, let alone from outside of a state, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if what Christopher said is true.

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds