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Home » Officer Columns » Moving Forward: New SSD Director; Assistant Secretary and 2016 IM Awards

Moving Forward: New SSD Director; Assistant Secretary and 2016 IM Awards

  -  AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

A concern expressed to me by many delegates attending the AFM Convention last June was who would become the AFM director of Symphonic Services Division (SSD), if I became the secretary-treasurer. Indeed, filling the director position with the right individual presented a challenge, but as it turned out, there were several qualified applicants.

An important aspect of filling this position was soliciting input from the symphonic player conferences. To do so, applicant résumés were shared with the governing boards of ICSOM, ROPA, and OCSM/OMOSC. Each symphonic player conference had an opportunity to weigh in with their preference(s).

Rochelle SkolnickIt gives me great pleasure to announce that Rochelle Skolnick, SSD counsel, has been chosen to fill the SSD director position. Rochelle brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is a symphonic musician who understands first-hand the daily challenges symphonic musicians face in the workplace. She has a commanding knowledge of labor law, which she will continue to use to guide local officers, executive boards, SSD negotiators, and orchestra committees.

Having worked closely with Rochelle over the past five-plus years, I know her to be a warm and compassionate person, willing to defend the rights of musicians when called upon to do so. Having served as SSD counsel, Rochelle is familiar with the various types of orchestral issues that SSD is asked to address. Consequently, she was able to “hit the ground running” when she became the SSD director on October 24th. Rochelle can be reached at or (212)869-1330
X1-220. I wish Rochelle all the best in her new position and have every confidence she will be excellent as our new director. 

New Assistant Secretary

Since the retirement of Lew Mancini (who had become an AFM institution over the years having served as chief operating officer), many of Lew’s responsibilities were temporarily transferred to Assistant to the President Kenneth Shirk. Ken has done an amazing job and remains an indispensable resource for the AFM. Thank you, Ken! I am so grateful for your many contributions.

Several duties, which were transferred to Shirk, will now be assumed by Jonathan Ferrone, our new AFM assistant secretary. Jonathan has served as a Local 16-248 (Newark/Paterson, NJ) executive board member, secretary-treasurer, and most recently president. He is a trombonist who has performed throughout the New York metropolitan area. He can be reached at or (212) 869-1330 X1-253.

AFM Wins 2016 ILCA Media Awards

It gives me great pleasure to announce that our AFM publication, International Musician has won three 2016 Media Awards from the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA):

1st Place: Writing: Best Profile: National/International—“Allen Toussaint Reveals Why He’d Never Leave the Big Easy,” by Cherie Yurco (April 2015)

2nd Place: General Excellence: Print Publication: State/Other—International Musician (October 2015/November 2015)

3rd Place: Writing: Best Labor History: National/International—“Remembering the Greatest Labor Songwriter the Nation Has Ever Known,” by Cherie Yurco (November 2015)

Additionally, I would like to congratulate Local 802 (New York City) and Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) who were also honored with ILCA Awards this year. Congratulations to all those who contributed articles, submitted photos, or helped design these publications during 2015.

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