‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 115, No. 10November, 2015

Top row, from left: Alex Navarro, Sean Liljequist, Hugo Moreno. Bottom row: Rob Mitzner, Chris Agar.

Top row, from left: Alex Navarro, Sean Liljequist, Hugo Moreno. Bottom row: Rob Mitzner, Chris Agar.

I transferred my union membership from AFM Local 47 in Los Angeles after years of session work out there. I joined Local 802 to maintain that consistency of networking and union jobs now that I’m in New York. I have worked for years as an arranger and pianist on major record label projects and Grammy-nominated albums and have been fortunate to tour quite consistently as a music director or pianist/keyboardist. I would like to see how those years of experiences translate in the New York market, be it television, Broadway, recordings, tours or something else. I recently was in London performing with the BBC Radio Orchestra. Playing with such a world-class orchestra and hearing back my own orchestrations was an experience I will most certainly never forget!

Alex Navarro

I joined Local 802 when I got the amazing opportunity to sub on bass and guitar for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway. To be honest, I never considered joining the union as a musician, but I can see it as a whole new avenue in networking while I live in New York. There’s a huge world of music that I still haven’t been exposed to and I’d love to explore it. My goals as a musician in New York are to push my band The Silver Tongues, look for studio work, sub for shows, and help my friends fulfill their musical visions. My favorite recent gig is playing Jacek (bass) in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” at the Belasco Theatre. My principal instrument is bass, but I also play guitar.

Sean Liljequist

I believe that being a member of the union is definitely in one’s best interest, not to mention that you are also connected to a beautiful, long lineage of amazing musical history. I have dreamed of living and working in New York since I was a small child. I have two musical goals here: play a ton of different styles of music from all over the world (something that was hard to do in my hometown of Sunland Park, New Mexico) and meet, perform with, and learn from the world-class artists who live here. When I arrived in New York, I was completely overwhelmed by the level of music-making here. I have been very fortunate to have had mentors along the way who have given me rich technical, musical and personal guidance. One of them was the late, great Wilmer Wise. There are wonderful elders in our business with so much to share. Seek them out! One of my favorite recent gigs was subbing in a Broadway pit orchestra, with world-class musicians all around me. It was great pressure, but such great fun. My principal instrument is trumpet.

Hugo Moreno

I recently had the pleasure of recording drums and Irish percussion for the soundtrack to the Broadway show “Outside Mullingar.” This opportunity came about via guitarist Sean Harkness, with whom I’ve worked in a variety of musical settings since moving to New York seven years ago. Doing “Outside Mullingar” gave me insight into the diverse benefits offered by Local 802, and I decided the time was right to join the union and fully take advantage of those resources. In addition to my Broadway and theatre work, I was recently featured in Modern Drummer magazine. I performed for President Obama in my hometown of Washington D.C, and play regularly with an array of other projects across many genres, including Jann Klose, Woodhead, Andrea Capozzoli, Michael Gallant and my own modern jazz trio The Smoke People, which recently did a CD release show at the Blue Note. I’ve also had the opportunity to write some drum-related articles for, and was recently featured in Discmakers’ “Echoes” blog. My main aspiration is to continue my personal and professional growth by working in diverse musical situations and learning new things from the incredible musicians around me. It’s a true honor to work with such talented artists and good people, and I look forward to meeting many more through Local 802!

Rob Mitzner

I recently moved to NYC from Detroit, and I joined Local 802 in order to gain access to the greater community of wonderful musicians who reside in this artistic hub. My main musical goal is simple: try to be a better musician every day. One of my favorite recent gigs was at a cabaret at a sold-out Metropolitan Room with an amazingly hilarious entertainer. The whole experience exemplified why I enjoy music so much: when an audience is engaged and the performers are having fun, there is nothing else like it. My main instrument is bass (electric and upright), and I also have experience as a copyist and arranger.

Chris Agar