Xmas woes: Police shut major airport over suspect clarinet

Xmas woes: Police shut major airport over suspect clarinet


norman lebrecht

December 23, 2018

From Ludwig Van Toronto:

Calgary police temporarily shut down the International Terminal Building at the Calgary airport yesterday afternoon after a musician’s instrument from local kids orchestra was mistaken for a rifle…

Read on here.



  • Malcolm James says:

    I always knew that clarinets could kill at 100 paces.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    In some states in the USA, the Eb clarinet has to be registered as a deadly weapon and licensed by regulatory authorities. Saxophones are illegal for obvious reasons.

    • The View from America says:

      Pretty soon eardrums will be banned as well, resulting in everyone being bumped off of every flight.

  • PaulD says:

    Good think it wasn’t a bassoon. It would have been mistaken for a bazooka.

    • DSisko says:

      You think that’s bad? Imagine what they’d do when confronted with a tuba? Call in the Mounties? The army? A surgical airstrike? LOL!

  • Bruce says:

    I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again: in the years before 9/11, I was regularly asked by security to open my flute case. Apparently on the x-ray machine it looked like some kind of pipe bomb, or the kind of rifle that screws together. (The first time it happened was in 1979; it happened more often than not, probably 60-75% of trips, over the next 22 years. One exception was when a security agent looked at the scan and said “Oh, are you in town for the audition? My daughter’s auditioning too. Good luck!”) After 9/11 I was never asked about it once.

    I came to hate air travel and have successfully avoided it for the last 5-6 years. I wonder what would happen now.

  • buxtehude says:

    Good thing it wasn’t a piano; just ask Krystian Zimerman.

  • Harrumph says:

    This all seems a metaphor for modern culture’s general attitude of suspicion and antipathy toward the arts.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Players of the ondes martenot have this difficulty all the time since they always fail to convince airport security staff that it is a musical instrument. Players of the ophicleide, serpent and litui get into comparable trouble and are mostly required to demonstrate their claim, which is then always resulting in some general upheaval.