‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 117, No. 6June, 2017

Raymond E. Johnston Jr.

I rejoined Local 802 in order to play the Broadway show “Shuffle Along” and also to be a part of a world-renowned music organization. My musical goal in New York City – and my lifelong dream – is to get more gigs with Broadway musicals. I have a lot of experience Off Broadway and at local theatres in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. During my 31 years as an instrumental music teacher, 27 years as a bandsman in the 63rd Army National Guard Band and 38 years as a professional musician, I’ve met awesome musicians. Those relationships helped me get many gigs, including at the Cotton Club Big Band in Harlem, where I’ve played the past nine years. My most favorite recent gig was “Shuffle Along,” which I got after a call from Jay Brandford to sub for him. (Thanks, Jay!) Tenor sax was my principal instrument while at Berklee College of Music, but over the decades I have spent equal time playing tenor, alto and baritone saxes; flutes and piccolo; B-flat and bass clarinets; and bassoon. I gig on all woodwinds.