The Musicians’ Voice

Volume CVI, No. 10October, 2006

The Musicians’ Voice is an open forum for discussion about the state of union affairs. The views expressed here do not express the views of Local 802. Letters must be 300 words or less. Send them to Allegro, c/o Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036, or e-mail Mikael Elsila, the editor, at


To the Editor:

I would like to thank Bill Dennison and the Anne Walker Scholarship Committee for the generous check. I am very appreciative that I was chosen to receive this. It will help me greatly in my music studies at the University of North Texas.

I look forward to being a part of the union and the musicians of New York City. Thank you again. This is a great program that will help many students in their music studies.

–Julia Adamy


To the Editor:

Harvey Mars is dead on in his sidebar about the virtual orchestra machine in the September Allegro on page 5 (“Is the machine an instrument? No!”). He is absolutely correct when he states that being able to tap a beat does not make one a musician. Stage managers, lighting techs and others follow the conductor’s beat for cues all the time. He is also correct when referring to the faux keyboard. To attempt to legitimize the V.O. machine as an “instrument” with a “piano keyboard” is absurd. The machine operator could use a computer (i.e. typewriter) keyboard, or for that matter, could just as well have a row of knife switches like in an old Frankenstein movie! I recall the mixture of amusement and derision with which an 802 member described the V.O. machine operator at an Opera Company of Brooklyn production. He was swaying like a concert pianist with concentration and deep artistic expression as he occasionally pressed down keys to trigger sequenced digital samples. Puhleese!

Later in the same issue of Allegro, I read the minutes from the June 13 membership meeting with amazement. Each “side” struggling for advantage, parsing the language and proposing amendments and amendments to amendments in an effort to gain some slight edge. Had this been an account of 802 struggling at the bargaining table with a difficult employer I would have been heartened. Sadly, it’s us struggling against ourselves. Can this really “conserve and promote the welfare of members” and “advance and protect their interests” as per 802’s constitution? What a shame. I can only hope that the situation will change after the election — but I’m not holding my breath.

–John Arbo