‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 118, No. 1January, 2018

I joined Local 802 to pursue more performance work in Manhattan. Formerly a member of Local 16 in Paterson, New Jersey, I’ve been working more recently at the Manhattan School of Music pre-college program as a collaborative pianist and assistant musical director in the musical theatre and opera departments. After many years of playing student Broadway productions I feel I’ve honed my sight-reading, accompanying and arranging skills enough to make the move to professional NYC theatre. I believe that unions are imperative for collective bargaining, especially for freelance musicians where multiple and diverse employers are involved. I have been a member of the NJEA teachers’ union and the Songwriters Guild of America. These unions have offered me career guidance, insurance at fair rates and vested pension programs. Unions also provide a place for camaraderie and support, as well as an opportunity to give back to the community of colleagues. Music is incredibly important to me. The practice of music has been the framework of my life since childhood. It not only brings me peace, joy and solace, but also allows me to connect with fellow humans in the most meaningful way. It has taught me everything I know about life, including discipline, patience, perseverance, and communication. To do it professionally is icing on an already delicious cake! Musical growth is as necessary to me as air to breathe and I am always seeking ways to progress. My principal instruments are piano/keyboards/synthesizer.