The all-too-short annual conference of the Theatre Musicians Association was held at the Holiday Inn in St. Louis on Aug. 16-17.
Most of the work of the conference took place on Monday, starting with introductory remarks by TMA President Vicky Smolik, who is also the president of Local 2-197 (St. Louis). Lisha McDuff, TMA traveling director, reported on the problems commonly encountered by traveling musicians.
A report by AFM President Tom Lee was followed by discussion about the new contract between Equity and the League and how it may impact the upcoming Pamphlet B negotiations for touring theatrical musicals.
The morning session continued with a stirring report by 802 President David Lennon about 802’s successes in achieving contracts banning virtual orchestra machines.
After lunch, Len Leibowitz, who is legal counsel to both TMA and Local 802, presented a workshop on the negotiation process and strategies with special emphasis on theatre contracts and how they relate to Pamphlet B.
This presentation was followed by a discussion by Michael Manley, assistant to the AFM president, of the status of the AFM’s efforts to explore a low-budget contract for traveling musicals. The prospects seem remote at this time for such a contract to be achieved.
Finally, Bill Moriarity, former 802 president and chair of the AFM Futures Committee, reported on the committee’s activities. The committee’s goal is to come up with recommendations to the IEB and ultimately the AFM convention on how the AFM may restructure or otherwise improve the delivery of services to its members.
A board meeting of TMA was held that evening, and the conference ended on Tuesday after the election of officers and a rousing discussion of Pamphlet B by a panel which included Ed Ward, Gordon Stumpf, Ray Hair, Carey Deadman, Rich Tremarello and Bob Saunders.
It is clear that the organization is growing and heading in the right direction.