Why did I join Local 802? I was asked at the last minute to sub for the sub for the Springfield Symphony’s holiday concert last winter, and there was absolutely no way I would have ever passed up the opportunity to accompany a group of tap-dancing Santas and play “Silent Night” in the style of the type of slow samba you’d hear in a dark 70s romantic drama. My musical goal in New York City is to be that person that shows up to play either 12 triangle notes or 5,984,586 roto-tom notes for the opera that was written five minutes ago or the symphony that was written 200 years ago with a batch of freshly baked marzipan rugelach and a reservation for the entire percussion section to eat ramen at the itsy bitsy place around the corner after the show. Additionally, anything that lends itself to advancing the art form – whether it’s being part of a new chamber or rock group, or commissioning new pieces, or creating new productions – is something I love doing and hope to continue doing. My most recent large-scale-OMG-I-can’t-stop-dreaming-of-it gig was playing for the premiere of David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s opera, “Dog Days.” It is one of the most beautiful and haunting works I’ve ever experienced. I got the gig because I was recommended by someone, but I’m not sure who! My principal instruments are percussion and timpani: anything you hit or break or yell or throw on the ground, etc.
I re-joined Local 802 after an eight-year hiatus. In 2003, my wife and I relocated to Bogalusa, Louisiana, where we lived with and took care of my mother until her death in 2011. I’m back in New York to take advantage of the rich musical environment. I’ve worked for most of the heavy hitters, including everyone from Wes Montgomery and Stan Getz to Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross. I’ve served as a producer, musical director, composer and arranger for many shows and acts, including Mongo Santamaría, Melvin Van Peebles and Thad Jones & Mel Lewis. I wrote the music for the Off Broadway production “Chittlin’ Circuit” and I also wrote the music for several films and documentaries. I am looking for work as a composer, arranger and orchestrator. My principal instruments are drums and keyboards.
Herschel E. Dwellingham, Sr.
I re-joined Local 802 after recovering from an injury. I’m a studio and touring musician; one of my major tours was Scarlet Rivera, a Warner Brothers artist. We did two records together and two tours, which kept me working for close to two years. Over the years I’ve played with a wide variety of artists and bands, including Steve Forbert, The The, Nectar, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. I have also done a vast amount of studio work in and around the Los Angeles area, as well as some work in the U.K., and am now looking to develop work here in NYC. Local 802 has been good to me: once, a tour manager was withholding money from me, and ultimately the union helped me recover it. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the ability to blend in and play in the right style in whatever situation I’m in. I pride myself on my ability to adapt to any and all types of work. My principal instrument is guitar, and I also sing.
I joined Local 802 because I have the hopes of expanding my horizon into union work. I was the composer of the show “Non-Equity: the Musical!” which was presented at the FringeNYC Festival. My goals are to continue composing and playing in our great city with more people. My principal instrument is piano.
Paul D Mills