‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 117, No. 11November, 2017

Cliff Roberts

I joined Local 802 because I feel that unions are more valuable than they ever have been, especially in this climate. My instrument is the Great Highland bagpipe. While some may call it a folk instrument or something you hear around St. Patrick’s Day, I think it represents a musical language like no other. Those of us dedicated to this instrument do what all musicians try to do: express emotion through our art. Another reason I joined Local 802 is because my profession has become threatened due to amateurs selling their services for pennies on the dollar on web sites like GigMasters. The value we bring as musicians is not just our instruments, but our approach to the gig, our preparation and our years of dedication. My musical goal in New York City is to be the union professional who shows up prepared, in uniform, with the best performance I can put out there. As a bagpiper, I’m hoping for “Brigadoon” to come back to Broadway, or for the chance to take part in a special concert at a top venue. Many of my performances have been with brass as well as with a church pipe organ. I look forward to being a part of the larger collective of the AFM, which represents a group of people with the focus of true artists. They do not compromise their values, their performances or their approach to the profession.