The Musicians’ Voice

Volume 117, No. 10October, 2017

E-mail letters to Mikael Elsila or write to Allegro, Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. Letters must be no more than 300 words. Opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of Local 802.

Anton Coppola


Never before in history has an opera been recorded by an orchestra, chorus and soloists all under the baton of its composer, who happens to be 100 years old. History is about to change!

Maestro Anton Coppola’s dream is to record his opera “Sacco & Vanzetti” in New York under an AFM contract with a 62-piece orchestra of Local 802’s finest musicians, a first-rate professional chorus of 40, and seven vocal soloists of international repute. Just 10 years old when the two Italian-American anarchists were tried for a murder-robbery that occurred in Massachusetts, Coppola carried the seed of his opera about the case for decades before it began to take form. The case, considered a gross miscarriage of justice toward immigrants, resulted in the electrocution of both men in 1927. Coppola’s opera, an examination of the men’s humanity and a closer look at themes of justice, opened to rave reviews. Anton Coppola was born in 1917 in East Harlem. After his youthful tenure at the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus, Coppola conducted his first opera at the age of 18, the same year he joined Local 802. He served for four years as an Army bandmaster during World War II, and later conducted at Radio City Music Hall. For 15 years, he was the director of both the symphony and opera departments at the Manhattan School of Music. He was honored with the lifetime achievement award from the Puccini Foundation and recognized by the Italian government as a “Cavaliere, Gran Ufficiale.” On March 25, 2017, four days after turning 100, the maestro conducted a full orchestra, chorus and soloists in a program that included selections from “Sacco & Vanzetti.”

–Dominic Derasse


I saw the change in Local 802’s outdoor lighting from low pressure sodium to LED. Personally, I think the old fixture provided much more light even though it was monochromatic (yellow). The new LED might save a little more electricity but the image of the front of the building is compromised. I think it looks terrible. If the union officials wanted a change to LED, there are much better-looking LED fixtures like the kinds used on highways,  which would look much better and still use less electricity. Cheap-looking glass “juice jar” fixtures are not only ugly  but they also make it look like the front of the building is under construction with temporary lighting. And what happened to the address? The old fixture had 322 on it. As a union member since 1967, I think the present change is bad looking and gives a sloppy image of Local 802!

–Stuart H. Tresser

Recording Vice President Andy Schwartz replies: The city of New York demanded that our old lighting fixture be removed as it extended below the canopy, which was a violation. Local 802 will be looking into alternatives and thanks Mr. Tresser for his input.

FATHER AND SON: Local 802 members Ben and Frank Perowsky


I want to let fellow musicians know that my father, Frank Perowsky – a woodwind player, arranger, composer and a Local 802 member for 63 years – will turn 83 on Nov. 9. We will be appearing at Birdland on Sunday 10/29 at 6 p.m. with an all star-band to celebrate. Aside from working in countless Broadway shows, my dad has been a career sideman working with Jimmy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Les and Larry Elgart, Tito Rodriguez, Johnny Richards, Bill Watrous, Billy Eckstine, Roland Hanna and Thad Jones/Mel Lewis. He played in Liza Minnelli’s band for 35 years. His arrangements and orchestrations have been featured in the orchestras of Buddy Rich and Liza Minelli and numerous others. I decided to take on the job of producing and playing drums on a record featuring all his charts. We have a new album, “An Afternoon In Gowanus,” coming out on Oct. 27, featuring Jerry Dodgion (a member of Local 802 for almost 60 years) and many other legendary players from multiple generations. For more information, see

–Ben Perowsky