The Musicians’ Voice is an open forum for discussion about the state of union affairs. The letters here do not necessarily express the views of Local 802. E-mail letters to Allegro@Local802afm.org or write to Allegro, Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. Letters must be no more than 300 words.
THANKS TO LOCAL 802 FOR “ANNIE” PAY BOOST
am writing to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to Local 802. I am a trombonist, NYC resident and Local 802 member who recently completed a contract with the national tour of the show “Annie.” We performed at the recently re-opened Kings Theatre in Brooklyn from Dec. 15 to 20. We were working on this tour under an AFM contract called “SETA” (Short Engagement Touring Agreement), which provides for things such as set salaries, doubles, librarian fees, health and pension contributions, vacation pay, sound check/rehearsal pay and overtime, where appropriate. However, my colleagues and I learned in November that because of the bargaining power of Local 802, we would be receiving 85 percent of Broadway scale/benefits during our Brooklyn engagement. What this boiled down to were significantly higher salaries, nearly double our normal health contributions, weekly instrument maintenance fees (which the SETA doesn’t provide for), and a premium for a second show on Sunday (which the SETA doesn’t provide for). I am so grateful to Local 802 for their part in ensuring that we in the “Annie” orchestra received fair wages and benefits during this engagement in one of the most expensive cities in the world. And I assure you that my sentiments are echoed by my colleagues, whether they are members of Local 802 or another of the AFM’s locals. It is also my true hope that our situation can be mirrored for others who find themselves in a similar circumstance.
CAN YOU KEEP IT DOWN?
This is related to last month’s Allegro cover story on practicing music in your apartment and dealing with noise complaints. One of the greatest lead trumpet players of the modern era retired to South Florida. He recorded with everyone and played on all the TV shows out of New York City. He was lead with Sinatra, Streisand, Garland, etc. But nobody had warned him about the “condo commandos” and the clout they have in “enforcing the condo’s rules.” So I’m guessing splatting double pedal C’s all the way up to double C’s starting at 7 a.m. was not within the guidelines! Unbelievable as it seems, someone whose music they lived, danced and fell in love to was also the man they forced out!
He wasn’t mad or disabused. He took the money and found a gorgeous subtropical paradise home around the corner. And he “peeled the paint” every chance he got – inside his own house – with the windows wide open! Hah!
Barrie W. Mizerski
REMEMBERING WALTER WEINBERG
I would like to let fellow musicians know that my father, Walter V. Weinberg, who played piano, organ and accordion, died seven years ago on June 22, 2008. We did not put a notice in Allegro at that time but would like to honor him now. Walter, who was a member of Local 802 for over 50 years, was the only child of Jacob Weinberg (1879-1956), a noted Russian-Jewish composer and a member of the Jewish Music Forum and the Society for Jewish Folk Music. (Jacob Weinberg wrote “The Pioneers,” the first Hebrew opera to win an international composition contest. His music is still being performed today: the 92nd St Y has a concert on April 11 that will feature three of his works.)
Walter Weinberg was an expert musician who played with Rudy Tepel and others. In addition to knowing standards, he specialized in Greek and Jewish music. He played weddings, bar mitzvahs and christenings. He would take his bulky Wollensak tape recorder and record folk tunes sung to him by the older folks at these parties and then transcribe these tunes into sheet music so they could be played at functions, to their delight. He also played the organ at the High Holy Days in synagogues. He played accordion and wore lederhosen in an “oompah band” in Yorkville and at Luchows on 14th Street. He earned a B.A. from City College and a master’s degree from Columbia Teachers College.
Walter was a wonderful husband and father, a loving, kind, erudite and gentle man. We miss him deeply. He is survived by myself and my two sisters, Janis and Nora. His precious wife of 61 years, Adelaide Weinberg, pre-deceased him.
I would love to hear from anyone who played with Walter Weinberg or remembers him in any way. Please feel free to contact me at Emausner@aol.com
Ellen Weinberg Mausner
A TRIBUTE TO JOSEPH SILVERSTEIN
The great violinist Joseph Silverstein died on Nov. 21 at the age of 83. He had been a member of AFM Local 9-535 (Boston) for 46 years. I was moved to submit to Allegro the following tribute, which is an excerpt of a profile I wrote of Mr. Silverstein for the Epoch Times in 2013.
Mention the name of the great American violinist Joseph Silverstein to any string player and immediately the musician pours out accolades. Mr. Silverstein was not only a great violinist but he also served as concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 22 years and served as the associate conductor for 13 years in over 100 performances. Mr. Silverstein also led the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He managed these positions while teaching violin at Yale and at Curtis.
Mr. Silverstein trained from an early age with his beloved father, who was also a violinist. He subsequently studied with Josef Gingold, Mischa Mischakoff and Efrem Zimbalist, all prominent figures in the violin world. Less known is the fact Mr. Silverstein also studied with Demetrius Dounis, the great Greek pedagogue.
Joseph Silverstein was a master from the golden age of violin playing. He was one of the last musicians linked to the 19th century and early 20th century through the heritage of his teachers. That golden age was a time when the individuality of artists was at once recognizable. It was a time of reverence and respect, a time when great musicians were humble in the face of their art.
Mr. Silverstein will be greatly missed by all. He is survived by his wife, the former Adrienne Shufro, whom he married in 1954; his children Marc, Bunny and Deborah; and four grandchildren. The family will announce a public memorial in the spring.