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A British conductor is deported from the US

June 25, 2017 by norman lebrecht

22 comments.


Phil Evans, conductor of the Philadelphia Symphonic Winds and until recently director of music at Valley Forge Military Academy & College, has been deported from the US.

PSW is ‘an American band with a British accent’.

Phil has been obliged to open a Kickstarter page here to help his family with relocation costs.


A further sign of diminishing times.


Comments (22)

  1. Harold Lewis says:

    How can times diminish? Surely, ‘diminish’ denotes a reduction in number or quantity, not quality.

    1. Scotty says:

      Diminish means to make smaller. Stature can diminish, for example.

      1. Harold Lewis says:

        So tell me, how can ‘times’ have their stature diminished?

      2. Harold Lewis says:

        To Scotty: So tell me, how can ‘times’ have their stature diminished?

        1. Scotty says:

          I was speaking only to your statement that “‘diminish’ denotes a reduction in number or quantity, not quality,” which isn’t right. Qualities, such as, to provide another example, reputation, can be diminished. For that matter, seventh chords can be diminished or even half-diminished.

          1. Harold Lewis says:

            To Scotty again: ‘reputation’ is not a quality. But anyway I’m sure NL could have expressed his point more clearly.

      3. Harold Lewis says:

        To Scotty: So tell me, how can ‘times’ have their stature diminished? Sorry if this reply appears in duplicate.

        1. Harold Lewis says:

          Or even triplicate!

          1. Scotty says:

            Quality: a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something.

            You’re saying reputation doesn’t qualify, as in “he has a reputation as a strict grammarian”?

          2. Harold Lewis says:

            I said that ‘reputation’ is not a quality – patently it is not. I did not use the word ‘qualify’.

    2. “In dieser großen Zeit, die ich noch gekannt habe, wie sie so klein war; die wieder klein werden wird, wenn ihr dazu noch Zeit bleibt…”

  2. Ben says:

    Not a fan of deporting any family, but this gent, from United Kingdom, must have entered U.S. legally (how could anybody not entering U.S. legally from United Kingdom?????) but somehow completely messed up his visa’s allowed stay period (being described elsewhere as “over-staying”, beyond visa expiration) for close to 10 years. TEN YEARS!

    He could have happily obliged to return to home country voluntarily years ago, re-apply his visa at the U.S. embassy, issue resolved. Instead, somehow, he managed to sit on it for ten years. (note: professional worker visa does have a lifetime limit of 6 years that isn’t extendable, I think)

    OK. USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, previously INS) is notorious for its “cold-bloodiness”, if that’s what you wanna call it. This is likely the only government operation I know in all of U.S.’s government branches that are truly bias-less (no discrimination against gender, age, IQ, weight, education level, sexual preference, smell, skin color, race. religious belief, wealth, etc). It treats everybody equally like ***crap***. But at least it’s all equal, like what the blind-folded statues at courthouses symbolize.

    Nevertheless, Phil may as well plan to work in Canada if North America is what he likes to work in. Anybody who over stayed his/her visa would be automatically banned for re-entry for a long period. If the over-stay is very extended, like in this case, it’s virtually impossible to get a non-immigrant visa in his life ever again.

    P.S. A common tone of this blog is that musicians somehow should have earned clemency and entitlement of everything. A rude awakening: It’s a courtesy, not a right, to be treated “more equal” if you are a musician.

    P.S. USCIS is a perfect example of “everything equal” does not mean great. It’s not. Before some of the posters here scream age equality, race equality, gender equality, religious equality, nationality equality, etc, be very careful of what you are wishing for.

    1. Gerhard says:

      Very well said!

  3. MacroV says:

    This is a sign of nothing other than that Mr. Evans seems to have come to the U.S. and not obtained proper authorization to remain. Usually we focus on people from south of the border, but a huge number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. are white English-speakers.

    There is no explanation of what happened here; did he originally come over on Visa Waiver and just end up staying/working? Did he have work authorization such as an H1B and fail to adjust to permanent residence? I’m a little surprised at the carelessness and ineptitude of his employer, who should have taken steps to ensure that he had valid work authorization in the U.S., and which could have filed a petition for him.

    Well, unlike a lot of deportees, at least he’s going to a country where he knows the language and culture and has a chance of ending up back on his feet.

    1. Robert Holmén says:

      I’m going to guess his employers, “The Philadelphia Symphonic Winds”, primary legal expertise was in non-profit organization rule compliance and accounting.

      1. M. Holahan says:

        Actually, the band he directed is called the Pennsylvania Symphonic Winds, or PSW for short. He founded the non-profit organization and was not an employee of it.
        His employer was the Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, PA.
        I am an acquaintance of Phil and for years he was trying to obtain a green card, but was unsuccessful.
        Shortly after last year’s commencement, where H.R. McMaster, Trump’s new security advisor, gave the commencement address, Phil was deported. McMaster was a graduate of the academy.
        I asked Phil, if he thought this was a co-incidence or McMaster had a hand in this deportation, which occurred mere weeks after the commencement. Phil wears his RM uniform when conducting.
        Phil told me when he got notice of the deportation he reached out to McMaster because he figured him to be a stand up guy. McMaster told him there was nothing he could do, especially in a situation where a job is being taken away from an American worker.

  4. Ariel Dragge says:

    Sounds like a pretty straightforward cock-up.

    1. Steve P says:

      Yep. Diminishing times and such.

  5. Harold Lewis says:

    This altercation with Scotty is boring. Good night and God bless, sir.

  6. Luigi Nonono says:

    Well, thankfully, the jobs he held can now be taken by Americans. With so many American musicians out of work, we simply cannot be so open to admitting foreigners, particularly without reciprocity with their countries.

  7. Mike Jackson says:

    To Ben. Justice is not blindfolded in London (UK ) as justice has to be seen to be done.
    A lot of people try to avoid the rules and hope it won’t catch up with them . In America it usually does

  8. Luigi Nonono says:

    It isn’t always so simple to leave the country and return, and it may bear the risk of never returning. Nevertheless, overstaying is rather dumb. I knew a violinist who overstayed in the Netherlands, had built up a large teaching studio, and then got deported, to her surprise. It irritates me so how the hiring people in the US will lay down for a European, not hire Americans, even though we are desperate for employment here and largely unable to get any in Europe.

    The University of Indiana’s harp department is now entirely staffed with foreigners (one may be naturalized by now). Despite the existence of dozens of qualified Americans, they somehow found it necessary to import a not-famous German, little-known in this country. It’s beyond reason. And there are perhaps no other full-time professorships for harp left in this country. But it may not matter, if no one wants to study there anymore.


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