‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 115, No. 7July, 2015

To join Local 802, call our Membership Department at (212) 245-4802 or visit

Top row, from left: Keith Marks, Joe McCarthy and RJ Rabin. Bottom row: Bobbie Lee Crow III, Brett Hunter and Stephen Flakus.

Top row, from left: Keith Marks, Joe McCarthy and RJ Rabin. Bottom row: Bobbie Lee Crow III, Brett Hunter and Stephen Flakus.

As a bandleader, professional flutist and native New Yorker, I rejoined Local 802 because the union provides a venue for networking with booking agents and musicians for gigs and getting information that supports me with the business side of the music industry. Music is my passion, my heart and my soul, and my goal is to keep growing musically and stay humble. Music has afforded me the opportunity to play before Presidents Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela, open for Toni Morrison, Frankie Beverly and Maze, McCoy Tyner, and Arturo Sandoval and perform with numerous jazz, R&B, Caribbean and South African musical giants. I enjoy playing at concerts, festivals and colleges in addition to receptions, weddings and private parties. One of my favorite recent gigs was at the New York Marriott where I played at a reception and dinner and received tremendous applause and recognition for the performance. My musical repertoire includes funk, jazz, R&B, Caribbean, Latin, Calypso, African and gospel. See

Keith Marks

I joined Local 802 because NYC has the greatest concentration of world-class musicians and opportunities. My goal is to become a working member. A favorite recent gig was performing and recording with composer Roland Vazquez. We are finishing up a big band project of Roland’s compositions featuring my band, Afro Bop Alliance. My principal instrument is drum set.

Joe McCarthy

I’ve re-joined the union because at 42, my life and priorities have changed. I’m enthusiastic about the resources available to me through the union. The union reps have been fantastic about answering all my questions and helping me navigate the different departments of the union. After 28 years as a drummer, there is still so much to learn. I’m hopeful that the union can introduce me to more musicians and clients, and help me along this fun/weird/exciting path of being a musician. Most of the work I do has come from past client recommendations or from meeting folks on the bandstand. What’s my favorite gig? They’re all my favorite! When someone trusts me with their music, I can’t help but love every second. It doesn’t matter to me if we are in front of 2,000 people or playing a kid’s bar mitzvah. Any day I get paid to drum is a great day!

RJ Rabin

I joined Local 802 because a colleague suggested I take music from my hobby to my career. I am a composer, arranger and orchestrator working in film, musical theatre, classical and pop. I hope to assist with large-scale productions in the future. I recently started an orchestra that performs anime and videogame music. Our first concert featured music to the Japanese television series “Sailor Moon” and was a sold-out success! As a self-produced event, it took a lot of hard work to put it together, but I think that is what’s so great about working in the city. You have to make your own magic happen and create your own opportunities; you can’t wait for someone else to call you. My principal instrument is cello.

Bobbie Lee Crow III

I joined Local 802 after relocating to NYC from Washington, D.C. My primary musical goal is to land a Broadway show and to continue to grow as a musician and earn a place in this community. I would also like to do more recording, as I love the challenge and atmosphere of the studio. My favorite recent gig was playing on the first national tour of “Wicked.” I had substituted for the percussionist on the tour of “Aida” when it came through D.C., and he very graciously kept in touch and recommended me for “Wicked” when the chair opened up. My principal instruments are drum set and percussion.

Brett Hunter

I joined Local 802 so I could be a part of the Broadway production of “A Night With Janis Joplin.” My musical goal is to lend a hand to any project – big or small – that interests me and still have time to do the amount of practicing and studying to keep growing as a musician and performer. My most recent favorite gig was subbing on guitar for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” at the Belasco Theatre. I was a fan of this show for years and still can’t believe I got the opportunity to perform in the latest incarnation. My principal instrument is six-string guitar (nylon, steel string, electric) though I’ve been known to commit some hacking on a few other stringed instruments.

Stephen Flakus