‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 112, No. 7/8July, 2012

Florian Hoefner

Michael “Safe” Baker

Michael Wittenburg

Amy Crawford

Hazy Malcolmson

Alfred Thompson Jr.

I joined Local 802 to be able to accept union gigs. My musical goal in New York City is to make an impact as a performer and composer. One of my most recent gigs was a European tour with my friend Peter Kronreif’s band. We have been playing together on different occasions for a while so he asked me to join his band. My principal instrument is piano. I come from a jazz background but have played lots of classical music as well. I also play accordion.

–Florian Hoefner

I joined Local 802 to get connected to the people who can help me on my musical journey that I am on. My musical goal is to become a professional singer/songwriter, guitarist, violinist and to get paid. But make no mistake about it: I play first and foremost because I love music, all music. Every day I try to encourage people, especially children, to study an instrument. When I am out about the city, children are always delighted to see my half-size travel guitar. Sometimes I let them touch it, wear it or I may strum or pluck a note for them and watch their faces of joy. I always encourage them to stay in school and tell them that they can be anything that they want to be. I practice every night on the street and sometimes in the subway in different inspirational locations that I have been led to. I am in tune with the people and environment in those locations. People often give me money, and tourists from around the world sometimes have their picture taken with me. I am in love with the acoustic guitar. It is pure and versatile so it is my main instrument. The violin is my second instrument of choice because it helps me play better guitar.

–Michael “Safe” Baker

I joined Local 802 after recently moving to New Jersey from Florida. I have been a member of various AFM locals since 1999; this is my third local. My goal is to build up demand for my services, especially as a collaborative pianist, coach, and conductor, but also as a violinist and organist. Last winter, I toured in Florida with both Celtic Woman and the Irish Tenors as a violinist; I have played as principal keyboard or section violin in several orchestras in Florida including the Orlando Philharmonic, and I was contracted by someone who knew me from those engagements. I am a concert pianist and regularly perform as a soloist or collaborative artist, but I am also a good orchestral violinist and a good service player or accompanist on organ.

–Michael Wittenburg

I joined Local 802 when I started working at a jingle house called Music Beast last fall after doing time as an intern. I compose and play keys on spots. I also sing. My musical goal in New York City is to continue to grow my career as a composer and vocalist/instrumentalist while honing my chops as a producer/engineer. I tour with rock bands, I lead my own solo project, I assist an avant-garde jazz musician/composer and manage his arts foundation, and I work at the jingle house. I keep an open mind and pay my dues as a young musician!

–Amy Crawford

I am a bassoon player and am deeply happy to be returning to my work in music and rejoining Local 802. I graduated from Juilliard about 10 years ago and freelanced around the city a bit at that time. After attending law school and working as an attorney for several years, I started playing again last summer. My musical skills came back much more quickly than I expected and as my facility increased, I was drawn to music like nothing I have ever experienced working as an attorney. I decided to return to music and recently reduced my hours at my legal job so that I could focus on my work as a bassoon player and teacher again. I am hoping that one day, I am able to play and teach on a full-time basis.

–Hazy Malcolmson

I joined Local 802 because I heard that the union puts an emphasis on promoting new artists and helping them reach their career goals through connections and promotions. My musical goal in New York City is to be published and be able to perform on a quality level and expand throughout. I still feel New York City is the cornerstone of music that it has always portrayed itself to be and more. One of my most recent gigs was playing at Jeff’s Cuisine in Norwalk, Conn. – a popular musical hotspot that features local artists. The gig was acquired through a word-of-mouth recommendation. My principal instrument is voice and piano.

–Alfred Thompson Jr.