‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 116, No. 1January, 2016

Top row: Nicole Abissi, George Dewar, Ric Becker. Bottom row: Tia Allen and Claire Khodara

Top row: Nicole Abissi, George Dewar, Ric Becker. Bottom row: Tia Allen and Claire Khodara

After seven years away, I moved back to New York last year. I joined Local 802 because I want to be a part of the local musical community. My musical goal is to play all the types of music New York City has to offer. With Broadway, orchestras, early music, contemporary music, opera, ballet and jazz of such high levels and such abundance, New York has a unique opportunity for musicians. A favorite recent gig was playing a concert with the contemporary chamber ensemble Argento. Music has always been a part of my life, but being a professional musician in New York City is especially significant for me because I was raised in the area. I have many childhood memories of going to Radio City Music Hall, concerts at Carnegie Hall and attending countless musicals. My principal instrument is trombone.

Nicole Abissi

I rejoined Local 802 after I received an offer to sub in the Binghamton Symphony Orchestra. My musical goal in NYC is to freelance and teach. I am the principal cellist of the Symphony of Westchester. In the past, I have been the principal cellist of the Queens Philharmonic (under Jo Ann Falletta), and have also been a member of the Long Island Symphony as well as the Nassau Symphony (later called the Symphony of Long Island) and the Westchester Symphony. I earned a B.Mus. from the Peabody Conservatory as a student of Stephen Kates, and a master’s from the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College (CUNY). At Peabody, I was a chamber music student of Karen Tuttle and was a member of graduate string quartets at West Virginia University and at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). I was a fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival from 1990 to 1995 and was the teaching assistant for Fred Zlotkin in 1992. Violoncello is my principal instrument and chamber music is my specialty.

George Dewar

I joined Local 802 because I got a gig subbing on “Matilda” on Broadway, but I’ve been in New York for quite few years now and am very excited for my first opportunity to work in the musicians’ union. I came to New York to be a freelance musician; though I studied classical, I love playing all styles of music, and this is the best place to do it. All I can ask is that I get to continue doing what I love to do. I just started playing bombardino (euphonium) with Chia’s Dance Party, a Colombian banda, cumbia and fandango group, which has a monthly gig in Park Slope. I met the bandleader working a private event earlier this year and we got to talking – a classic NYC moment. I’m incredibly excited to play my euphonium in this setting! My principal instrument is trombone.

Ric Becker

I joined Local 802 last year to begin subbing for the Broadway show “On the Town.” My musical goal in NYC is to have a full-time contracted show on Broadway while still managing my extremely active chamber and orchestral concert schedule. Most recently I performed on one of my favorite TV shows of all time, “Law and Order: SVU.” I got this gig through the union as they recommended me to the casting agents for the show. My principal instrument is viola.

Tia Allen

I joined Local 802 when I was given a weekly residency at the Pierre Hotel in December 2014. I’m a singer based in New York and London. The union’s support has been an invaluable asset to my career. I trained at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. During this time, I was chosen for the position of Pontifical Cantor at the weekly papal public audiences at the Paul VI Hall and St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican for both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, from 2004 to 2006. I was a contestant on American Idol (season 9) and now frequently perform in London and in New York City (at the Soho House and Pierre Hotel). I regularly sing the national anthem for professional sports teams in Philadelphia and New York, including the Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Knicks and Sixers. My album “Brand New” was released last year. My career is supported by the union and I plan to be a lifelong member. My current musical goal is to sing my original music at Madison Square Garden. Music is important to me because it allows me to fulfill my dream and passion in life. As a little girl, I always knew I wanted to be a professional singer. As an artist, you must fight to do what you love. I thank the union for supporting me in my dream.

Claire Khodara