Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.

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Orchestra News

2022 Brings New Season of Negotiations for Tireless AFM SSD Staff

As I write this, the summer of 2022 is winding down and I am still feeling the resonance of attending the annual meetings of all three symphonic player conferences in person for the first time since 2019. In this issue, the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), Regional Orchestra Players’ Association (ROPA), and […]


New Orchestra for San Antonio Brings Fresh Approach


With astonishing speed, the musicians of the former San Antonio Symphony, Local 23 (San Antonio, TX) have launched a brand new organization.




International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians Turns 60!

by Laura Ross, ICSOM Secretary, Nashville Symphony Member, and Member of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) This year, ICSOM celebrated its 60th anniversary hosted by musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony and Local 56 (Grand Rapids, MI), August 24-27 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton/Downtown Grand Rapids. Most delegates attended in person. Local 56 members ICSOM […]


ROPA Conference Revels in the Face-to-Face

by Steve Wade, ROPA President, Hartford Symphony and Member of Local 400 (Hartford-New Haven, CT) and Karen Sandene, ROPA Secretary, Omaha Symphony and Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, and Member of Locals 70-558 (Omaha, NE) and 463 (Lincoln, NE) The 2022 Regional Orchestra Players’ Association (ROPA) Conference was held in Orange County, California, July 26-28. This event […]


OCSM Conference Celebrates In-Person Gathering

by Elizabeth Andrews, OCSM Secretary, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Member, and Member of Locals 149 (Toronto, ON) and 293 (Hamilton, ON) From Monday, August 8, until Friday, August 12, the beautiful Hotel Saskatchewan in downtown Regina was the site of the 2022 Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) Conference, our first in-person meeting since 2019. While […]


Black Orchestral Network Launched

Black members of more than 40 orchestras came together in May to launch the Black Orchestral Network (BON) dedicated to creating an inclusive and equitable environment for Black people in the orchestral field. The group was founded on the motto: “If we increase our connection to one another, we can harness our creativity and develop […]


Resilience, Renewal, and Our Future in Labor

But what has unfolded over these past two years has been far more complicated than any of us imagined and the notion of a post-COVID world has given way to one in which we learn to live, uneasily, alongside a devastating disease that has shown its ability to upend our plans again and again.


ICSOM Musicians Unite to Show Support for Ukraine

As we are rising from the ashes of the COVID pandemic, we are facing another predicament. This catastrophic and unnecessary war is escalating already rising inflation rates. With more than half of our orchestras negotiating within the next six months, we will be hard pressed to keep pace with rising expenses, to say nothing of making up lost income from the previous two years.


Third Time’s the Charm: ROPA to Meet In-Person

Most of our Regional Orchestra Players’ Association (ROPA) orchestras have gotten back to work over the past several months. There are lots of side letter agreements, contract extensions, and COVID protocols to deal with. I expect the next year will be full of negotiations and rollbacks of COVID protocols as we continue to return to live performing. There will likely be a new “normal” for our concerts and way of doing business, having been affected by two years of the pandemic, Zoom, streaming, and the many other adjustments that had to be made to keep the music going. There will need to be a great deal of patience and understanding for everyone as the playing field for many of our orchestras may well have changed.


OCSM: The Long Coda

The pandemic has made all of us reluctant to attempt to predict the future. (Remember the predictions that this would be over by fall 2020?) What will our future audiences look like? Will we ever return to prepandemic work density? Nobody wants to attempt to predict anything anymore, which will be a huge challenge to our negotiating committees, many of which are active now.








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