US orchestra bars an unvaccinated player

US orchestra bars an unvaccinated player


norman lebrecht

September 06, 2021

The clarinet player Martha Dippold was looking forward to playing her part in the 50th anniversary season of the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, which starts next month.

But orchestra bosses have told her she will be unwlecome until she gets a Covid vaccination.

Dippold says she caught the virus last year and now has immunities. Sje claims further that her religious beliefs oppose vaccination.

The orchestra is adamant in its refusal.

More here.




  • Alan says:

    “her religious beliefs oppose vaccination”

    A clear danger to herself and others so. She has no business mixing with the public with that attitude.

  • Anton Bruckner says:

    Important move by the orchestra. Those vaccine-opposers endanger not only themselves but the entire public. They should be banned from public events and characterizing this lunacy as some religious belief makes no difference.

    • fernandel says:

      With such a screen name you must be rather majestic.

    • Curvy Honk Glove says:

      Yeah… and let’s make ’em wear patches or arm bands so we know exactly who these self-destructive ingrates are. I don’t even know why we should consider ’em people while we’re at it, since they don’t want to submit to the authorities or the public will. This is for the greater good, and we simply can’t have a minority like this standing in the way of our progress. Maybe we should incentivize them to pack their stuff up and have them moved to their own enclaves where they can live amongst their own kind. Yeah… that’ll teach ’em a thing or two about who’s in charge.

    • Stuart says:

      A bit harsh. Not sure how much of a danger she is to herself or anyone else if she has had Covid. She has made a decision for herself, as has orchestra. Given the orchestra’s mandate, she needs to stay away. She can not have it both ways. The whole issue of vaccine mandates is bringing the worst out of some people. I can’t speak to her religious beliefs – everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine should get it.

    • Hayne says:

      Glad we’re not in Germany in the ’30s.
      You people are dangerous.

    • ken says:

      I agree, Anton Bruckner

    • anon says:

      As matters stand, there is no compelling evidence that vaccination prevents the SPREAD of COVID-19. Recent data suggest no statistically significant difference in viral loads between vaccinated and unvaccinated people with COVID-19. Keep in mind that the vaccine is ostensibly designed to reduce the risk of the vaccinated individual dying of the disease.

      Basically, this emerging medical apartheid has no scientific basis. Even if it did, I would view a vaccine mandate as unethical. Any medical intervention carries some risk of side-effects, and a lot of eminent scientists are arguing that this risk of side-effects is greater than the risk of COVID-19 for some parts of the population, especially younger people. Here in the UK, our principal vaccination advisory committee (JCVI) recently determined that most children aged 12-15 should NOT be vaccinated at this time on such grounds. And even if the evidence in favour of a medical intervention were overwhelming, it remains a fundamental human right for a Gillick-competent individual to refuse treatment.

      Regardless of your personal medical choices, please respect the rights of others to make different choices, the rights of others to keep such choices private, and please do not support this hideous vaccine apartheid.

      • Hilary says:

        “Keep in mind that the vaccine is ostensibly designed to reduce the risk of the vaccinated individual dying of the disease”
        – and (crucially) likelihood of hospitalisation.

        • Hayne says:

          “Vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials but also in real world data.”
          CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, March 29, 2021
          What short memories people have:)

    • Althea T-H says:

      The woman already has antibodies from a prior, severe Covid infection.

      As scientists agree that Delta is being spread by the vaccinated as well as the unvaccinated, wherein lies the logic of the orchestra’s position?

      Vaccination seems primarily to protect the vaccinated – for the most part – from acute, life-threatening infection. It doesn’t prevent them from spreading the virus to others.

      Therefore, what, precisely is the big deal about this woman’s remaining unvaccinated – especially as she has Covid antibodies? How, precisely, does she pose any more danger to others, than anyone else in the orchestra?

    • Violinmaven says:

      Most people refusing to take this treatment are not “vaccine opposers”. They do not want to take an unproven treatment. Especially since the Creator of that treatment has said, “do not take it.”

    • Dr. Covid-19 says:

      Agreed! Hope her God saves her when she gets sick (again) … this is a Public Health issue / emergency, not a private one.
      You’re either part of society or not. Follow the science (even Darwin did!) and get vaccinated!

      • Billy says:

        But natural immunity provides more protection than the vaccine does… If she has natural immunity, then what’s the big deal? Are you not aware of the countless vaccinated people who are still getting COVID (and even ending up as severe hospital cases; see Israel)? Your logic does not make sense.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      Some would say that the terror many feel upon hearing the word ‘covid’ is equally as deranged, if not more so.

    • Bob says:

      How is that, Anton? Everyone, including those vaccinated, carry COVID. So EVERYONE is a carrier. The ONLY person endangered by not getting the vaccine is Martha herself.

    • Billy says:

      Can you please explain the logic of your comment? Considering how (1) natural immunity offers better protection than the vaccine, (2) the vaccine is not preventing transmission – on the contrary, the virus is still spreading like wildfire among the vaccinated (look at Israel and elsewhere), and (3) wouldn’t *she* be the only one in danger, and not the public? I mean, if the vax supposedly works so well…

    • Martha Dippold says:

      Truth is only for those who seek it. Vaccinated transmit covid at same rate as unvaccinated but not naturally immune. What about other diseases? Hepatitis? HIV? TB? Influenza?

  • Gustavo says:

    “her religious beliefs oppose vaccination”

    And her religious belief apparently does not save her from utter selfishness.

  • Chilynne says:

    If she had Covid-19, her immunity level can be tested. It’s probably as good or better than that of a vaxxed person who has not had covid. Still, I suppose, rules are rules…

  • joshw says:

    Wow – this woman is so devout that even the Pope’s blessing isn’t good enough for her. I feel bad for the orchestra – I mean, there are so few good clarinetists out there . . . .

  • Gustavo says:

    Botox-lip and cleavage-painting says it all.


  • JR47 says:

    “Religious beliefs” my a**e! No jab, no job. We don’t need these indescribably thick and selfish people endangering other people, because they think they know better than mainstream medicine and science!

  • MacroV says:

    Good for the orchestra. You want to play with others, you get the vaccination. Or you stay home. End of story.

  • TruthSeeker says:

    Those who have taken this death jab are found to be 6.72 times more likely to get Covid. We are already seeing vaccinated people die “suddenly” and “unexpectedly” around us. Just wait until we get into the Fall and Winter and you will see a wave of death.
    There is evidence to suggest that the “vaccinated” may in fact be a danger to unvaccinated people. In that respect, Martha Dippold is very lucky to be isolated from her colleagues during this time for her own safety.
    Look around folks. Nurses, teachers, police, and firefighters are quitting their jobs en mass rather than be subjected to this dangerous, experimental technology. This madness will not stand.

  • PK says:

    I totally agree with Alan and Anton Bruckner. Everyone should be forced to be injected with products especially the ones by (in my opinion) criminal organizations like Pfizer. And don’t dare telling me that you can question “science”? This is “science” so you don’t think, you just comply!

    But but, they had to pay the largest criminal settlement in history!

    Nah, that was long time ago and they are the good guys now and they are approved by FDA so it’s all good.

    But wait, didn’t the head of the FDA resigned and joined the Pfizer board right before the pandemic?

    This are just conspiracy theories, use real sources!

    But that’s the Washington Post!

    Oh, right, well he probably joined just to make sure that there is no corruption and all the rules are followed properly.

    So if I don’t get the shot, I can’t play with you?

    Exactly, this is democracy and whoever doesn’t comply with our orders will be banned from society!

  • sam says:

    Whatever god she worships didn’t protect her from Covid the first time. She should hedge her bets, put half her chips on her god and half on a vaccine.

    • Hayne says:

      Sorry to burst you bubble but almost everyone WILL get covid.

      • Billy says:

        Yep. Whatever happened to “flatten the curve” and “slow the spread”? The whole point was that basically everyone would eventually get COVID; the goal was simply to not overwhelm the hospitals so that there are enough beds for those who need them.

    • Billy says:

      How is your comment scientific? Natural immunity offers better protection than the vaccine. She has natural immunity. So she’s more protected than her vaccinated colleagues are, and if the vaccine works (lol), then what do they have to worry about? Aren’t they safe from her? They’re certainly not even safe from each other, considering the countless breakthrough cases that are happening!

  • mary says:

    Maaaaybe if she was a string player and she promised to put on a mask, but she’s a bleepin’ wind player, it’s like if a co-worker said, ‘look, I don’t believe in vaccines, but let me also cough on you for 2 hours in a windowless workplace”

    Hell no.

  • J Barcelo says:

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Get the vaccine or be prepared to be an outcast. We know there are risks with this vaccine just like any other vaccine, but then life is full of risks.

    • Billy says:

      “Just like any other vaccine”? You really don’t know much about this, do you? This is such a “vaccine” that Merriam-Webster had to change the definition of the term earlier this year, and the CDC just changed theirs at the start of the month. Vaccine development normally takes YEARS; this thing is a gene therapy shot and was pushed out in less than a year. Can you seriously not see how this isn’t “just like any other vaccine”?

  • CRWang says:

    What is her religion? Peoples Temple or Branch Davidians?

  • CRWang says:

    “In a letter to the WSO requesting the religious exemption, Dippold wrote that ‘the covid vaccines have associations with aborted fetal tissues. I am opposed to this. I could not in good conscience receive a shot under any circumstance.’ ”

    Above is from the linked article. The dog ate my vaccination card would have been a better excuse. Pathetic.

  • Algot says:

    My guess is that those tattoos are a greater risk to her health than a Covid-jab.

  • And the Beat Goes On says:

    All musicians who oppose vaccination should come together and form the Zoom Philharmonic!

  • Music fan says:

    None of the major religious beliefs in the United States are in opposition to vaccination. Neither Protestant, nor Catholic; nor any of the Jewish or Muslim sects; nor Buddhism. Leadership of these faiths has spoken in favor of vaccination.

    The problem of an overly broad interpretation of freedom of religion as written into the 1st Amendment would lead to chaos – anyone could make up a religion and say a policy is against “my religion.” That is why even conservative courts in the US are siding with employers who are requiring employees be vaccinated.

    • NotToneDeaf says:

      I’m not sure if you consider Mormonism to be a major religion but that group does oppose the vaccine. The same group that told their flock to vote for Trump. And yet they remain tax exempt.

  • Tanya says:

    But she IS immunized, isn’t the point of vaccination immunization? More and more data from Israel, showcases how natural immunity is as robust or more than immunity through vaccination alone.
    Lets not politize health

    • Billy says:

      Exactly, but this is a mass psychosis event. People aren’t thinking rationally. Thank God we’re not living in 1930s Germany.

      The data shows that natural immunity offers better protection than the vaccine does. And by the way, this is a “vaccine” that isn’t really even a vaccine (Merriam-Webster and even the CDC changed their definitions this year bc this monstrosity didn’t fit the longstanding definition); it’s a gene therapy shot and it got developed in less than a year. Look into the many unreported adverse reactions and deaths being caused by this thing; the media is not covering it.

  • Rob says:

    She should set up the unvaccinated orchestra, I’d back her all the way.

  • BigSir says:

    The lady needs a new religion then.

  • Reasonable Reader says:

    She has natural immunity. Why are people defending the orchestra requiring she take an experimental mRNA injection that is in clinical trials until 2023? In her case, there are exactly no benefits, only infinite risk. I hope she sues.

  • fflambeau says:

    Get vaccinated and then you can play. Is it that hard to understand?

  • Couperin says:


  • Minnesota says:

    Dippold played with the Wilmington (North Carolina) Symphony. She appears to be an evangelical, and she associates COVID vaccines with aborted fetuses, hence her refusal to take the shot.

    I doubt that she–and most others–have any understanding of the science in the development of these vaccines. It has to do with some individual cells thousands of generations removed from the cells first collected about 40 years ago. Here is a lucid explanation for the public from the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest medical society in the U.S.:

    Life is complicated, but Dippold made her choice, and the Wilmington Symphony made theirs.

  • violafan says:

    Time to find a new job, Martha.

  • True North says:

    So what vaccination-opposed church is she a member of, then?

  • Violinmaven says:

    When are you going to stop mandating someone take an unproven mRNA treatment? Dr Robert Malone, CREATOR of this mRNA treatment, has said, “under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should ANYONE take this treatment!” It was created FOR DOGS, not people! He has also started that the test that is being used to detect this virus is over 50% INACCURATE! So WHY would you or anyone else be promoting this lie? Do some research people! Malone is all over YouTube saying this! Check it out.

  • Harry Dahlsjo says:

    “Dippold said her religious beliefs prevent her from getting the vaccine because she strongly opposes abortion”. Being a pious xtian woman I assume that she well aware of the many bible verses justifying/condoning/demanding infanticide (Isaiah 13:16 and Hosea 13:16 being two favourites) and the bit in Leviticus about tattoos being an abomination :/

  • I wonder which religion allows tattoos but not vaccinations?

  • Susan Bradley says:

    Yet she has a tattoo, quite visible in that photograph. So not averse to having chemicals put in her skin with needles.

  • Dragonetti says:

    Remember all those vociferous arguments about personal freedom? Freedom not to wear a crash helmet on a motorcycle; freedom not to wear a seatbelt; freedom to smoke in trains, buses and restaurants?
    Those people look distinctly dumb now don’t they.
    This is no different. Let’s get a grip and return to something resembling normality. The arguments are lost. Get your jabs please.

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    “Dippold said her religious beliefs prevent her from getting the vaccine because she strongly opposes abortion.” …

    Let us examine the logic of this statement: Ms. Dippold opposes vaccination because of the purported role of aborted fetal tissue in its development. Presumably, given her stated beliefs, she opposes abortion out of deference for the sanctity of life. So Ms. Dippold is prepared to endanger the actual lives of her colleagues and members of the audience, out of deference for the sanctity of the life of dead tissue, the latter being of only putative import to the vaccine.

    “Dippold said she feels targeted over her refusal to take the vaccine, because, with the rise of delta, even vaccinated people have been shown to spread and/or catch the virus.”
    Let’s parse this.
    1. Vaccinations are rising. Too slowly, but all the same.
    2. The Delta variant has been shown to cause ‘breakthrough’ infections even in vaccinated people.
    3. If the number of vaccinations increases, the number of vaccinated cases with breakthrough infections also increases. Mathematically. Proportionally.
    4. Even in breakthrough infections, the *rate* of hospitalisations, ICU treatment, and mortality, *decreases* drastically, compared with infections among the unvaccinated.

    Recap: Ms. Dippold opposes vaccination out of a combined rejection of both elementary logic and arithmetic. Because ‘beliefs’.
    Perhaps this deplorable state of affairs explains this chart:

  • Antonia says:

    36% of people who survived COVID-19 infection actually failed to make antibodies in a recent study. Other studies report the same phenomenon, although the specific figures vary.

    So she shouldn’t be so confident she’s immune unless she’s actually had her antibodies tested. And the tests available to the general public for antibodies aren’t so accurate.

  • Paul Sekhri says:

    Bravo to the Wilmington Orchestra. They deserve a standing ovation without even playing a note.

  • Steven Larsen says:

    It’s apparent from her photo that she had no “religious” objections to being inoculated with colored ink on her chest. Guess that leaves out fundamentalist Judaism and Christianity (Leviticus 19:28).

  • Judy says:

    I read a statement, by a consortium of major evangelical religious organizations that oppose vaccinations, that explained their objections to vaccines. It was complete nonsense. The arguments were illogical and unscientific. And they are using this guff to endanger the rest of us.

  • Nightowl says:

    That tattoo…ugh…go away..

  • Rush redux says:

    More COVID hyteria. Her personal freedom is being trampled on by administrators who are not even doctors. And some “doctors” don’t even know what they are talking about: you all know who I mean. I urge her to not get the vaccine, start a solo career in Wilmington, and sell her recordings. I’m sure she’ll be able to pay her mortgage. Good for her for standing up to the COVID Tyrants. Rip that mask off baby!

  • Harpist says:

    Rightfully so. Even if having had COVID one additional shot is boosting immunity quite significantly. And people have a had COVID last year and got Delta this year. Religious belief forbidding vaccinations is IMO a BS excuse for being antivax.

  • science believer says:

    Luckily, she is retired from teaching Special Ed… Anyway, it shouldn’t be hard for a community orchestra to find a better clarinet player whose religious beliefs don’t get in the way of science or tattoo choices.

  • No comment says:

    I am old enough to remember how medical recommendations were made privately, by doctors, on an individual basis; rather than publicly, by orchestra managements, and in bulk.

  • Bill says:

    Unless she’s a Christian Scientist or a member of the Dutch Reform Church, no other religion in the United States has an expressed prohibition on vaccination.

  • Dr. Dingle Morris says:

    All anti vaxxers should be sent to health reeducation camps and given only basic rations until they do the selfless thing and take these very safe and effective injections!

  • This is probably just the visible facade of a problem rather than the actual deal-breaker.

    It would be so easy for her to find a pretext for suspending her objection that I have to suspect she doesn’t really want to go back.

    It would be so easy for them to grant her an exemption and some other work-around that I have to suspect they don’t really want her back.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    She likes beer. Good lass.

  • Petros LInardos says:

    The antivax trolls are back in force. Seems like they have an agenda and found a platform: why don’t they ever comment about anything else?

    • Billy says:

      Anti-vax? You do realize that most people against the COVID “vaccine” (not even a real vax; the CDC just quietly changed their definition bc of that) have taken vaccines their whole life up until this point, right? I just got one last year. This isn’t like a normal vaccine; it’s a gene therapy injection. You are ignorant on this topic. You can’t call people “anti-vax” for being against a *single injection*, not to mention one that isn’t even really a vaccine…

  • Smiling Larry says:

    Now she can spend more time in her church, playing the clarinet and spreading the virus to its entire unvaccinated congregation. Everybody’s happy.

  • A Hedda Lettuce says:

    Who cares what this silly girl thinks, anyway!!?? This backwater so-called orchestra doesn’t even pay for gas, let alone a living wage!! LOL.