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, Symphonic Services Division

59th Annual ICSOM Conference Held as a Hybrid Event

by Laura Ross, ICSOM Secretary, Nashville Symphony Member, and Member of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) It took an additional year for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) to host the 59th annual International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) Conference held August 11-14, 2021 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown hotel. Our hosts from PSO […]


Virtual OCSM Conference Yields Insight as We Build Back Better

by Elizabeth Andrews, OCSM Secretary, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Member, and Member of Locals 149 (Toronto, ON) and 293 (Hamilton, ON) From August 4 to 6, 2021, the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) held its annual conference, once again meeting online due to the ongoing risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The delegates had met online in mid-June to report on […]


Orchestra Members Gather Virtually for 2021 ROPA Conference

Earlier this spring it became apparent that the Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA) conference would be held virtually for a second year. We considered the impact of the COVID crisis on our orchestras and the resulting financial hits our musicians and locals had taken, as well as the hesitancy of many of our members to […]


North Carolina Symphony Shares Spotlight with Citizen Musicians

During some of the darkest days of the pandemic in December 2020, the North Carolina Symphony (NCS) invited citizens across North Carolina to join, virtually, in a performance of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” Sheet music was provided for all different instruments, vocal parts, and skill levels, and participants submitted videos of their performances. Dance and […]


Organizing for a Successful Campaign: A Study from Fort Wayne

When we think of union campaigns, we often think of people in the streets, a media presence, and pressure from the public, but these are actually the fruits of successful organizing that preceded them. Any organizer who has run a successful campaign knows the amount of preparation, research, and planning that is put in ahead […]


Chicago Symphony Ratifies One-Year Transition Agreement

Musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) have signed a one-year agreement that runs from June 28, 2021 through July 23, 2022. Ratified in early June, the agreement serves as a transition to return to the original conditions of the musicians’ five year (2018 to 2023) CBA. During the first phase, from July 23 through […]


Update from the SSD Director

Find out what has been going on in the Symphonic Services Division amidst COVID-19 with this update from the SSD Director Rochelle Skolnick.


In Times of Crisis – Finding New Ways to Communicate

by Deborah Newmark, AFM Director of Symphonic Electronic Media As I write this, we are 15 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and on the threshold of transitioning back to normal in the US. At the start of the pandemic, as musicians all over the world were sent home without any idea of when they would […]


Symphony+ Equals Streaming Success

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO) won two awards from The Capital Gazette’s Style magazine Best of Anne Arundel County (MD) for: Best Virtual Event and Best Interactive Entertainment for Symphony+, the live-streaming program broadcast of performances into listeners’ homes instead of at Maryland Hall. “To launch our new season in 2020, we had to reimagine the complete […]


Virtual Holiday Variety Show Wins Regional Emmys

The variety show Virtual Holiday Spectacular (VHS) earned the musicians of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Indiana Symphony Orchestra three regional Emmys. Spearheaded by Andy Lott, principal trumpet of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Local 58 (Fort Wayne, IN), the event was nominated for four Emmys in the 52nd Annual Lower Great Lakes Chapter, and […]








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