‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 113, No. 3March, 2013

Neddy Smith

I joined Local 802 in order to belong to a larger body than myself, one of like-minded professionals working for the greater good of all musicians, locally and internationally. My musical goals are to perform, educate and work on Broadway shows; to score for movies and TV; and to record for major and indie artists. One of my recent gigs was producing a cabaret show and contracting various artist and musicians to work each week for three months. I got the gig by writing a proposal to the management. My principal instrument is the bass, both acoustic and electric.

–Neddy Smith

James Wilson

I joined Local 802 to be a part of this prestigious organization that supports and fights for the rights of musicians. I’ve been working musically in NYC and Japan for over seven years and have learned a lot about the business. I wanted a chance to meet other professionals, learn from them and gain the support of others who have been in my shoes. By joining the union, I hope to grow musically and find new opportunities to perform and play music. My goal is to make a living touring and playing the music I love with my talented country band, the Paisley Fields. I started it with my longtime collaborator and friend Jessica Kimple. We recorded an EP and plan to tour now. We will perform a few shows in the city before hitting the road. I’ve also got a couple weekly gigs at piano bars in the West Village and the East Side. I booked both of those by pounding the pavement, meeting people and auditioning. I’ve realized that it not only takes talent, but perseverance and the guts to try new things. New York is probably the toughest place in the country to make it musically, so making it here will be a great start. Playing the piano and singing have been my passion since I was a kid. Being able to make a living doing it in New York is such a blessing. I’m grateful for every day I get to step out in front of an audience and play music. Piano is my primary instrument. I also sing and write music.

–James Wilson

Laura Jordan

I joined Local 802 when I got called for the Brooklyn Philharmonic. I also wanted to be more connected to the musical scene. My musical goal in New York City is to be a professional musician. I’d like to break into Broadway, but I enjoy playing with orchestras as well. I am also an avid performer and commissioner of new music for solo percussion and chamber ensemble. One of my recent gigs was playing a double concerto with the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra. Someone needed a last-minute fill-in: I was a section percussionist, I was available, and I was more than willing to learn a 39-page part with a drum set and difficult four-mallet marimba solo part in just a few days. My principal instrument is classical and world percussion, as well as drums. I consider myself well-rounded: recently, I played a solo marimba recital, a multi-percussion concerto, and an Indian tabla gig!

–Laura Jordan

Rick Fox

I rejoined Local 802 after a 12-year absence when I moved back to New York a year ago to act as musical director/supervisor and conductor on the 2012 Broadway revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Neil Simon Theatre. I am also a member of AFM Local 149 (Toronto) where I have served as musical director/conductor of the Canadian premieres of “The Producers,” “Rent,” “The Lion King,” “The Who’s Tommy” and “Phantom of the Opera,” to name a few. Previous Broadway credits include musical director/conductor for “Blood Brothers” at the Music Box Theatre and “Rent” at the Nederlander Theatre. I have also served five years as director of music for the Stratford Festival of Canada. In addition to conducting, I play piano and keyboards of all sorts – in particular, the Hammond B3.

–Rick Fox

Dominic James

I’m currently on tour with the Grammy Award-winning singer Angelique Kidjo. I have been recording and performing with her since 1999. I’m primarily a jazz player but I’m fluent in a wide variety of musical styles. My principal instrument is guitar.

–Dominic James