The Musicians’ Voice

Volume 112, No. 10October, 2012

Music serves the community on many ways

Tom Olcott’s article “Art vs. Business” in the September issue of Allegro was an excellent summary of the challenges musicians (and all artists) are currently facing. The refrain heard most often at the recent Westfield Symphony Orchestra negotiation was, “The Local 802 model doesn’t work for us,” because management wanted to present their board with a good “business model.”

It is frustrating that we have to constantly restate the obvious: musicians are professionals and it is good business to have a high-level product that serves the community in many ways.

For instance, there is the performance itself as entertainment, mood enhancer and artistic expression. Then there is the connectivity of social gathering. Finally, there are other economic offshoots, such as restaurants near the venue, and so on.

It takes courage and dedication to be a musician, but I believe a successful orchestra needs a management with those same qualities.

Well, I’m still an optimist!

Daryl Goldberg

Remembering Whit Kellogg

Whit Kellogg, 63, a member of Local 802 since 1982, died on Aug. 22. Whit was a staff ballet pianist of the Metropolitan Opera for over 30 years. He was also the treasurer and secretary for the music committee of the Met music staff.

Whit was known by all of New York’s great dance institutions, having begun accompanying for the Harkness House and Martha Graham when he moved to New York City in 1976. At the School of American Ballet, Peter Martins favored Whit as his accompanist.

Whit developed a deep rapport with many ballet dancers through his excellent musicianship and his warm and supportive presence. He was a lover of dogs, his piano and anything Italian. His recordings for ballet classes have been sold worldwide.

Whit was an encouraging and supportive comrade to his fellow musicians, and was known by many for his gentle demeanor and wry sense of humor.

He is survived by his spouse Kennon Jacobs. Whit will be greatly missed.

Steven V. Mitchell

RE: Local 802 softball team

As a former player on the Local 802 softball team, it was nice to see the full page photo spread on the guys in last month’s Allegro. However I couldn’t help but notice that Local 802’s newly hired director of organizing and field services, Bennett Baruch, has been in Central Park playing softball on Monday afternoons all summer long. This made me wonder. Was Mr. Baruch hired for his fielding…or his hitting?

Roy Williams

Don’t sell us short

While commenting on Local 802’s political action fund in the July/August issue of Allegro, one member wrote a letter that said, in part: “…we’re talking pretty significant cognitive dissonance for anyone for whom being in a union is important and has been beneficial who doesn’t also support Democrats.” I think the writer is selling union members short.

I believe most union members care about the future of their children and grandchildren, and will vote according to the bigger picture of what is best for the long-term health of America and its future citizens. If that means voting for a candidate who is less pro-union than another is, then I believe union members will make that choice.

I applaud the administration for asking members what they think about Local 802’s political action fund. However, while the local may lead by political action, no one should be surprised if many of its members chose not to follow.

Bob Haley