‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 117, No. 2February, 2017

Dena Orkin

I recently moved to Manhattan and joined Local 802 to gain access to top performance opportunities, health insurance and a pension. I also joined the union as an investment in safe and fair working conditions. After going to school in upstate New York and around the tri-state area, I’m very excited to finally be living and working where some of the highest quality music in the country is being produced. My goal is to play clarinet and bass clarinet in a wide variety of the incredible ensembles I have been watching, and contribute to their success. I am very much looking forward to playing alongside the musicians whose talents I have long admired. One of the best gigs I’ve ever done was playing all of the Sibelius symphonies in honor of the composer’s 150th birthday with the Helsinki Sinfonietta at the Heinavesi Music Festival in Finland. I got this gig through a dear friend and studiomate from my studies at Eastman. I think music is a great way to unify communities and bring us together to express our collective struggles and ideals. Through teaching children in under-served communities, I’ve witnessed how music can provide students with their first experiences of success and acknowledgement and I’ve seen the transformative potential that music has to offer.