Why we joined the union

Volume 115, No. 9September, 2015

Top row: Dave Sewelson, Aminda Asher, Steve Nathanson. Bottom row: Mike Sayre, Erin Paul, Steve Sidwell.

Top row: Dave Sewelson, Aminda Asher, Steve Nathanson. Bottom row: Mike Sayre, Erin Paul, Steve Sidwell.

I joined Local 802 after a situation where I had been offered a gig and couldn’t do it because I wasn’t in the union. I didn’t want that to happen again. My musical goal is to play the music of the moment in NYC and teach kids to improvise. I had the privilege of playing at a memorial concert for Roy Campbell Jr. at Roulette. It was a moving tribute to a fine human being and amazing player. My main instrument is baritone saxophone.

Dave Sewelson

I joined the union in order to play on a film score recording session. It was one of the most fun gigs I’ve done recently! Before I got the gig, I was already planning to join because I would like to expand on my freelance career in New York City by playing more recording sessions and make connections to play or sub on a Broadway show. My principal instrument is cello and I am very excited to be a new member of Local 802.

Aminda Asher

I joined Local 802 while I was working on a commercial for BBDO. I have always been a big supporter of unions. In fact, my father ran a program for DC37, the city’s largest union. As a professional musician and composer in an increasingly challenging field, I recognize the need for solidarity and pay standards. New York is home to the greatest collection of musicians in the world, and I hope to continue to work with as many of them as possible. In addition to my work as a musician, I am founder of Same That Tune, a popular song-comparison web site, that allows users to post, comment, and vote on perceived similarities between pop songs. Recently, I landed an AXA industrial that featured a timeline of history (from cavemen to the present day), which was a lot of fun (and informative!). My principal instrument is guitar, but I started out as a drummer/percussionist. I also enjoy composition and theory.

Steve Nathanson

I joined Local 802 because I decided it was time to come back to music full time after a few years working in software and nonprofit. My goal is to piece together a freelance career with lots of variety, combining playing my French horn with composition for film, TV and other media. I recently had the privilege of playing for a few nights with the American Ballet Theatre. I got the gig because I’m acquainted with one of the other horn players and was available when they needed a sub in a pinch. I had a blast playing with so many great artists.

Mike Sayre

I joined Local 802 to establish myself in NYC. I previously freelanced in Las Vegas as a member of AFM Local 369, where I played Broadway-style shows. I love playing in pit orchestras. The union gives us the protections we deserve, along with a fair wage. My musical goal in NYC is to continuously improve as a musician, as a player and as a colleague. I want to push my musical limits and experience as much quality playing as possible. New York is home to an amazing number of top-notch players, and it’s great to be surrounded by such high-level colleagues. My favorite recent gig was playing “Carmina Burana” with the Oratorio Society of New York. It doesn’t get any cooler than a big orchestra of amazing players with a choir at Carnegie Hall. Music has altered the course of my life in an incredibly significant way. I have traveled the world, lived all over the U.S. and abroad, met incredible people, and continue to lead a life I really enjoy. I doubt my life would have looked this way if I had listened to my parents and got a “real job”! My principal instrument is French horn.

Erin Paul

I joined Local 802 because I was working in NYC as orchestrator for “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” I then co-produced the cast album, which won a Grammy for best musical theatre album. The show was also nominated for Tony, Olivier and Drama Desk awards. I very much enjoyed the Broadway experience and would be happy to work on further shows. I was trained as a trumpet player, but am now primarily a composer, arranger and producer.

Steve Sidwell