Why we joined the union

Volume 114, No. 3March, 2014

Top row: Tricia van Oers, Alonzo Harris, Joaquin Rodriguez. Bottom row: Heather Donnelly, Jason Haaheim, Stix Bones

Top row: Tricia van Oers, Alonzo Harris, Joaquin Rodriguez. Bottom row: Heather Donnelly, Jason Haaheim, Stix Bones

I re-joined Local 802 because I was asked to play with the Trinity Baroque ensemble at St. Paul’s Chapel, and the job requires union membership. My musical goal in NYC is to help further the early music scene, where historically informed performance practice becomes the norm, along with the use of historical instruments (or facsimiles). Bringing incredible music from the Baroque era to people of all walks of life and all ages is a special thing that I find worth giving my time and efforts to. My principal instrument is the recorder.

Tricia van Oers

I joined Local 802 because it’s always a good thing to be associated with a professional organization. Many of my colleagues and musicians are members. One of my recent gigs was working as music director for K. Michelle, a new R&B artist on Atlantic. I got this position by working with her prior to her deal and also being associated with her manager (Jeff Robinson) and MBK entertainment. My principal instrument is piano/keyboards, and I also compose, arrange, teach and produce.

Alonzo Harris

Why did I re-join Local 802? Well, it’s not about the career, but about the journey. The degree of solidarity, camaraderie and diversity of musicianship and genres makes being part of the union an integral aspect of the musical journey for me – and I would say for all serious musicians meriting acknowledgement, respect, integrity and citizenship in the musical community. With regards to access to resources, advocacy, support, networking, opportunities and a vast pool of talent, skill, and artistry – this is the place to be! I first joined Local 802 in the mid-to-late 1970s, when I was in my early 20s. At that time I worked as a session piano player, drummer, arranger and musical/recording director. My formal training at the High School of Music and Art and the Manhattan School of Music was on drums and percussion – thanks to Justin DiCioccio and to Charlie Palmieri’s Latin Jazz Ensemble at City College. I was also involved in the salsa circuit in NYC with various popular Latin groups of that era. I also did some brief Broadway work as a drummer/percussionist as part of an externship program. Now, after a 30-year hiatus, I am back on my musical journey with a distinct interest in jazz standards and Latin jazz, taking on a fresh vision and scope in approaching, interpreting and expressing these art forms as they were always meant to be: free and in the moment.

Joaquin Rodriguez

I joined Local 802 to get out there in the professional world and to market myself as a musician with the goal of getting into a paid performing group, preferably an orchestra, opera or a Broadway pit. I trained professionally for over 20 years and have spent many years performing with volunteer orchestras on Long Island. My goal now is to find performance jobs that utilize my skills, talent and abilities as an oboist and English hornist.

Heather Donnelly

I joined Local 802 after being appointed a principal timpanist of the Met Opera Orchestra in 2013. In addition to performances at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, I can be seen and heard performing with the Met Orchestra on radio, television and live video broadcasts. Prior to the Met, I was principal timpanist of the Southwest Michigan Symphony and principal timpanist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Guest timpanist spots have included the Milwaukee Symphony and Fort Wayne Philharmonic, as well as being called to perform as timpanist with the Chicago Symphony and the Detroit Symphony. Influential teachers have included John Tafoya and Dean Borghesani.

Jason Haaheim

I joined Local 802 to make sure I have a secure pension in my retirement years. Therefore, my goal is to perform union jobs. I also want to write, produce and play on recordings. Recently, I served as music director for the house band at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx after the owner heard my album “Groove Like This.” I was also the host and music director for the Metropolitan Room’s jazz night series. I got that gig after the owner heard me play there for a benefit concert. My principal instrument is drums.

Stix Bones