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david finck

David Finck: New York Bassist’s Talents Extend Beyond Four Strings

david finck
David Finck of Local 802 (New York City) has recorded on hundreds of sessions and also produces and arranges for other musicians.

In David Finck’s multi-faceted freelance career he’s had the opportunity to articulate the musical language of a range of artists. A longtime member of Local 802 (New York City), Finck first joined AFM Local 66 (Rochester, NY) while attending Eastman School of Music.

Finck arrived at his affinity for jazz through his father’s extensive collection—Count Basie’s band, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Red Garland. Among his influences on bass, which he began playing at age 10, are Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, Scott LaFaro, Eddie Gomez, George Mraz, and Ron Carter of Local 802.

“Ron Carter is a huge influence on me,” says Finck. “I say, if you are a bass player and you don’t have any Ron Carter in your playing, you haven’t been listening to music.”

Finck studied classical bass in high school and college, but he was also an a eager participant in Eastman’s jazz program and played gigs in and around Rochester. “Undergraduates had to major in classical music,” he says. “I studied with bassists in The Philadelphia Orchestra when I was a kid, so I took it fairly seriously. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, then it kind of evolved into jazz and pop.”

After college he was educated in what it means to be a freelance musician. In those days, it was a rite of passage for jazz players to tour with one of the big bands once they finished school, he says. He  went on tour for about a year with Woody Herman and the Thundering Herd.“They used to call Woody the road warrior,” says Finck. “It was a professional experience, a training ground. Being on the road, riding a bus, I built strength as a player.”

When he settled in New York City he became a member of Local 802 and began networking. His experience with Herman’s band served him well. “I would call and say, ‘I just left the Woody Herman Band and they’d say, ‘Oh, I played with Woody in 1959.’ So you had a kind of connection,” he recalls.

“It wasn’t too long before I did a Broadway show,” says Finck, who has done several in his nearly 40 years in New York. Another early gig was with jazz pianist Steve Kuhn and his trio. “We made many records and we traveled to Japan and Europe, as well as around the states and Canada,” says Finck.

From there, he built a solid reputation as a versatile bassist who’s worked in jazz, pop, Latin, and classical music. Among the artists he’s collaborated with are Dizzy Gillespie, Sinead O’Connor, Herbie Hancock of Local 802, Al Jarreau, Rosemary Clooney, Linda Ronstadt of Local 47, and André Previn. His list of more than 100 recordings includes platinum or gold records with Rod Stewart, Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, Clay Aiken, and Elton John, as well as Grammy wins for Paquito D’Rivera, Jon Secada, and Pete Seeger.

Finck says the key to his success is learning other musicians’ languages. “You have to know a lot of songs,” he says. You have to think on your feet. “Sometimes all of a sudden the singer says, ‘I do this song in Ab,’ when you typically do it in the key of C. And their language may include alternate chords that may not be written out. You have to be in the moment, keep your ears and eyes open, and know what your options are for getting to the next section of the song.”

“You also have to learn to play with different people rhythmically,” he says. He learned Latin rhythms from playing in Paquito D’Rivera’s band. “Paquito was very helpful. He’d come over and sing a bass line in my ear so I could know, for example, what a traditional cha-cha-cha bass line was.”

“There was a Brazilian player in the band, so I learned some language from him, as well.” Finck thought he knew what samba was until he heard Brazilians play it. “I listened to hundreds of Brazilian records until I figured it out.” It paid off. Eventually he was invited to Rio de Janeiro to record and he toured for about a year with Brazilian pianist Eliane Elias of Local 802.

Aside from the technical skill, Finck stresses that freelancers need to be on time and reliable if they want to work. “There are a lot of wonderful bass players in this town,” he says. “There are some guys, I love the way they play, but I couldn’t call them to sub for me because they are a liability.” You also have to give your best always. “You have to bring it every time you play. There’s an old saying, ‘You are only as good as your last gig.’ If you have a bad night, there’s always someone who heard it and remembers it.”

Finck’s curiosity for the language of music led to arranging, songwriting, and producing projects for the past 20 years. This includes two albums of his own: Future Day (2008) and Low Standards (2017). A third project is in the works. All of them are signatory to AFM agreements. Among others, he has produced three records for actor Tom Wopat, including a Christmas record with Wopat’s Dukes of Hazzard costar John Schneider.

Finck says he learned a lot about producing from his earlier experiences in the studio. “I watched a lot of people waste a lot of money because they didn’t have a vision of what the product was supposed to sound like. I could see where we could do things more cost effectively. And, because I know a lot of musicians and arrangers, I make sure that I call the right people for the job. I did plenty of records where I couldn’t believe the band I was playing with—they were all good players but didn’t belong together playing that kind of music.”

“I’ve also watched some great producers and recording engineers operate,” he says. “I worked a lot for Phil Ramone, recording with Gladys Knight, George Michael, Natalie Cole, Michel Legrand, and other talented people. Phil loved music and he loved musicians. I saw him diffuse some intense situations. That’s part of the job. You have to be a little bit of a shrink sometimes.”

It’s evident that Finck will continue to bring his language to live performances and recordings. “There’s great joy in working in the studio and creating something that’s going to be permanent and having the freedom to adjust things. But there’s something special about playing live, too,” he says.

No matter what kind of project, Finck says he always pushes for AFM contracts. “I’ve always been a champion of the union,” he says. “Certainly I like the pension and health contributions. I like the idea that I have some kind of protection from future usage. You never know when something you’ve recorded is going to end up in a movie. If you haven’t filed a contract, there’s not a whole hell of a lot you can do about it. It gives me a sense of security.”

The other big benefit is quite simple, he says, “I like the idea that you don’t have to negotiate; Here’s the scale, here’s what it pays, this is what you get. If you play enough sessions, you’ll get a few bucks from the Special Payments Fund at the end of the year. Nothing wrong with that!”

Cleveland Orchestra Ratifies Three-Year Contract

In mid-December, musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra, members of Local 4 (Cleveland, OH), ratified a three-year agreement retroactive to September 3, 2018 that runs through August 29, 2021. The orchestra’s season remains 52 weeks and size remains 100 members. Musicians will receive raises each year of the contract. Base salary will rise from $135,096 (2017-2018) to $143,364 by the 2020-2021 season. Musicians also secured a small increase in the employer contribution to 403(b) retirement plans, as well as a new seniority category for 25-year musicians ($245 per week)—an item that had been sought in many previous negotiations.

Negotiations were, for the most part, cordial, but were held up several months due to management’s insistence on a health care concession that would have required musicians who enroll employed spouses on the orchestra’s health plan to pay a surcharge or other penalty. The negotiating committee held firm in rejecting this concession and made clear that the musicians were willing to withhold their services if necessary.

Streaming Leads to Slim Profits

Pour la version française cliquez ici.

In the September 2013 International Musician, I reported statistics that represented the number of streams necessary to earn a minimum wage in the US. These numbers were based on the US federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour or $1,160 per month for a 40-hour week.

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The AFM: Finding Strength in a Diverse Membership

John Acosta

by John Acosta, AFM International Executive Board Member and Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) President

Diversity within our union cannot be celebrated enough. While our membership runs the gamut in ethnicity, musical genre, age, and gender, the paucity of diversity within many of the workplaces in which we have representational duties continues to impede our effectiveness and growth. While progress has been made within our profession to foster and embrace diversity, an increasingly concerted and deliberate effort is needed to provide a clearer path to increase diversity among officers and members alike.

Last year, the League of American Orchestras, along with partners the Sphinx Organization and the New World Symphony, announced the National Alliance for Audition Support, an initiative that began with a discussion at a Diversity Forum convened by the League and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation some years back.

Our employer partners recognize the need to diversify the workplace in order to reflect the ever growing and evolving communities they serve. While the AFM embarks on programs of our own, we should also support and engage with our employers on joint initiatives that will help elevate underrepresented communities.

This February, as we celebrate Black History Month and look ahead to our triennial convention, we have a twofold opportunity to highlight diversity within our Federation and help kick off the AFM Diversity Awards application process. The AFM Diversity Awards were created to recognize outstanding examples of diversity that foster underrepresented communities within our organization, such as minority and LGBTQ groups. The awards are also designed to recognize exceptional artists who are actively engaged in underrepresented music genres.

By recognizing these noteworthy individuals, we will help to unlock the transformational potential that has always existed within our union, but is far too often overlooked. A recent Brookings Institute study informs us that new census data confirms the importance of racial minorities as the “primary demographic engine of the nation’s future growth” and that “by 2045, whites will comprise 49.7% of the population in contrast to 24.6% for Hispanics, 13.1% for blacks, 7.9% for Asians, and 3.8% for multiracial populations.”

Our union need only tap into an already diverse membership, a membership that I believe may be a great organizing vehicle. When you look at where our Federation already represents musicians, we are truly a reflection of the current and increasingly diversifying America. From the Grammy Awards to the American Music Awards, from the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show, our musicians are already ambassadors from minority communities across America. Our challenge is how to engage and activate our multicultural membership to inspire them to organize the next generation of musicians into our Federation, and ultimately become the future leaders of tomorrow’s AFM.

Music by Black Composers

Rachel Barton Pine’s Landmark Project (#blackisclassical) Shines Light on Music by Black Composers

Music by Black Composers
Rachel Barton Pine of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) has collected around 900 works by more than 350 black composers in her Music by Black Composers project.

The internationally renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine’s Music by Black Composers (MBC) project has collected about 900 works by more than 350 black composers from the 19th through 21st centuries. Through the Rachel Barton Pine (RBP) Foundation, the Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) member has so far released four MBC materials: Music By Black Composers (MBC) Violin Volume 1 pedagogical book; The Rachel Barton Pine Foundation Coloring Book of Black Composers; a timeline poster of more than 300 black composers; and the Blues Dialogues album of classical works written by 20th and 21st century composers.

Music by Black Composers
Rachel Barton Pine of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) plans a series of eight pedagogical books (from beginner to advanced) with music exclusively by black classical composers.

“In the 15 years since we first conceptualized Music by Black Composers we have had the opportunity to speak with many black musicians about the importance of role models in the arts,” Pine explains. “Even today, many aspiring black students live in a community where their particular town’s orchestra may not even have a single player of color in it or leading it. As much as they may love the music, they don’t see a future for themselves. Our goal is to present a variety of black leaders representing professions in the classical sphere, so that young people may consider the different avenues they may take in music and see someone who looks like them in that role.”

MBC Violin Volume 1 is the first in what will be a series of eight violin volumes, graded from beginner to advanced concert level. It features 22 works from 16 black composers. The coloring book features 40 prominent black composers drawn by Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist and Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX) member Sho-mei Pelletier. The black composer timeline poster was created in partnership with the Sphinx Organization.

It is particularly relevant that Pine is releasing an album in conjunction with the MBC books as the idea for MBC started with Pine’s 1997 recording Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Following its release, Pine found herself sitting on diversity panels and fielding questions about where to find more works by black composers. After discovering that most repertoire by black composers was out of print or existed only in manuscript, she committed her nonprofit foundation to the Music by Black Composers project.

Music by Black Composers
The Rachel Barton Pine Foundation’s Coloring Book of Black Composers features 40 biographies and illustrations by Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist Sho-mei Pelletier of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX.)

Composer Billy Childs called the project important and timely. “I sincerely hope that one day projects such as this, which focus on an underexposed segment of the classical composing world (underexposed, it seems, because of race or ethnicity), will no longer be necessary because every good composer will be regarded with equal seriousness, regardless of race,” he says.

“I’m particularly excited to inspire African-American children,” Pine says, “so that they feel like they’re part of classical music’s history and future—but also to normalize diversity of repertoire for all students, so that they grow up with this stuff and become audience members and performers, that reflect the totality of the human experience.”

The MBC materials have already been adopted by some schools. Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA) member and Career Studies chair at Curtis Institute of Music Mary Javian says, “Curtis is proud to pilot this curriculum in one of our partner schools as part of our Community Artist Fellowship. The work Rachel Barton Pine and her foundation have done to bring these important composers to students will help advance the field of classical music, as well as deepen our relationships with the communities we serve.”


Time to Get Organized: Training Session Inspires Union Leadership

by Nicole Bogatz, Assistant to the Trustee of Local 433 (Austin, TX)

My colleague, fellow Local 433 (Austin, TX) member Aaron Lack and I hopped on a plane to Washington, DC, at the beginning of December. We were headed to American Federation of Musicians Leadership Training. The AFM hosted the three days of training with leaders from the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. We knew that these intensive sessions would be beneficial to the Austin Federation of Musicians (Local 433), our membership, and the Austin community.

Organizing, Transactional, Transformational

AFM Local Officer Leadership Training, December 2018 class

The words of the week were: organizing, transactional, and transformational. These words were daunting the first day. Organizing is arranging into a structured whole. Transactional is when leaders are aware of the link between the effort and the reward. Transactions are activities leaders must do to get them checked off a list. Transformational activities cause changes in individuals and systems. When leaders inspire emotions in their members, they motivate the membership to act beyond the framework of transactional necessities. Every local must complete transactional duties to keep the office running, but providing the transformational experiences within its membership sets the groundwork for effective organizing.

The training tempo was brisk due to the variety of learning activities provided. Local leaders formed new groups or partnered for each training exercise. This allowed us to work with other AFM leaders that we might not typically have the opportunity to work with. Group and partner work enabled networking and the exchange of experiences between all of us. Role playing skits gave each of us a laugh, but provided a safe practice space before heading home.

Bringing It All Together

At Local Officer Leadership Training the officers formed new groups for each exercise, which allowed networking and an exchange of experiences.

The “Organizing Conversation” handout that I have deemed “my new best friend” really brought the meaning of the word organizing into focus. Everything we had been learning during training started to click.

On the last day, we watched the video 1,000 People in the Street: 5th Ave. Musicians Strike, featuring Local 76-493 (Seattle, WA). This provided a real-life example of how transformational activities support organizing and how organizing can change a mindset, and in turn, create results. All of these training activities helped me. At first, I felt a little overwhelmed by the loaded word “organizing.” By the end of the training, the words that once terrified me were now powerful tools for my jurisdiction.

By the end of the training, I had three main takeaways: 1) Organizing is the key to any local’s success for its members and community; 2) We as the local leaders must first help to internally organize, if we want to make future changes to our community and beyond; 3) Don’t “third-party” the union; we are all the union, an organized group of musicians and music industry professionals who stand together, united for the greater good of the industry and of our craft.

Invaluable Training Sessions

Local 257 (Nashville, TN) Secretary-Treasurer Vince Santoro had the best quote: “‘Right to work’ is a label for a mindset.” Let that sink in, repeat it to yourself, and don’t let it deter you from your goals. Any local, big or small, can always make an impact and bring change to its community.

The AFM & AFL-CIO Leadership Program is a valuable training session. Not only did I access a wealth of information and ideas to bring back to my local, but I feel more confident in my ability to assist our members in any campaign they would like to start. I also feel ready to take on any collective bargaining negotiations that may arise in our jurisdiction.

I would like to thank AFM Organizing and Education Director Michael Manley, Lead Organizer Alex Tindal Wiesendanger, Symphonic Services Division Negotiator/Organizer/Educator Todd Jelen, Vice President and Local 99 (Portland, OR) President Bruce Fife, as well as AFL-CIO Organizers T. J. Marsallo and Patrick Scott, for their hard work putting this training together. There was a lot of information to put into just three days of training, but you all pulled it off. To my fellow attendees, it was great seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones. It’s time to get organized!

gerald albright

Jazz All-Star Gerald Albright Brings His “A” Game

Gerald Albright
Gerald Albright of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) made a name for himself as a session musician and then built a successful solo career that includes 19 albums.

Saxophonist Gerald Albright of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) has dominated contemporary jazz since the 1980s. Albright made a name for himself as an R&B instrumentalist and his venerated status in the studio as a skilled session musician resulted in solo contracts with major labels. At 61, the eight-time Grammy nominee is still at the top of his game.

In 2016, he self-produced G under his own label, Bright Music. The opening track, titled “Taking Control,” sends a clear message: He is forging a second career as an independent jazz artist. He created the horn sections, texturing alto, tenor, and baritone around the lead melody, while handling the thick bottom with bass guitar. Albright’s newest album, 30, is an anniversary project of some his best music over the last three decades. Its big, multilayered sound is reminiscent of his high school band years in the 1970s, he says, where he learned to double on other instruments, an ability that has served him well.

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Albright was influenced by gospel music. He began taking piano lessons from the church choirmaster, who also gave him his first saxophone when Albright was around nine years old. “It was like a toy. I can press these cool keys. Still, I knew it was the instrument I wanted to play,” he says.

Albright was already an accomplished saxophonist by the time he enrolled at the University of Redlands. When he saw Louis Johnson in concert, he learned to play bass. After graduating from college, he got a call from Local 47 member Patrice Rushen, a friend from high school. Her record, “Forget Me Nots,” was charting very well. Albright, who played tenor sax solo on the song, says, “She called asking me to go on tour, saying, ‘I’d love for you to be a part of the horn section.’” So, from 1980-1985, he was on the road with her new band and later, when the bassist abruptly left in the middle of it, Albright replaced him and finished the tour on bass guitar.

Inspired by Maceo Parker (of the James Brown band) and Cannonball Adderley, Albright launched his solo career in the infancy of smooth jazz with Just Between Us in 1987 and has been at the center of the genre with chart-topping albums ever since. Albright has worked with Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Jr. of Locals 5 (Detroit, MI) and 47, Atlantic Starr, Stanley Clarke, Maurice White, and Les McCann and Quincy Jones, both of Local 47. He has enjoyed hit collaborations—24/7 with guitarist Norman Brown and Summer Horns by Dave Koz and Friends (including Mindi Abair of Local 47 and Richard Elliot). He’s also been on the road with South African singer and guitarist Jonathan Butler.

In the late 1990s, he memorably toured with Phil Collins. “I was amazed that all these people came to see one guy on stage—looking out at the masses—you couldn’t see the back of the audience. Venues were packed solid, in some cases 100,000. That solidified what success in music could be. As I toured with him on and off for several years, I took a lot of knowledge and applied it to my own career; same with Whitney Houston. These were steps for me to become a solo artist and front my own band.” Albright adds, “I’m elated now to be almost 20 records deep in that career.”

Although his style runs along the contemporary urban jazz and R&B spectrum, Albright says, “I approach it with more energy and more depth—what I’d like the audience to hear and feel. Feeling is just as important as hearing it. I want them to know I’m giving 100%. I want them to hear and feel the story that I’m trying to convey through my horn and it’s genuine, not something fabricated. Whatever mood I’m in, without filters, comes through the horn to the audience. Genuine, honest—and all the hours I’ve put in to attempt to perfect this instrument. Above all, I want them to walk out of the venue feeling better than when they walked in.”

Albright comes from a tradition of virtuosity, saying, “If Miles Davis was doing a show and you stepped up on his stage and he granted you five minutes to do a solo, you better be on your ‘A’ game. These days, persona and stage presence, often override commitment to horn or the voice.” As he tours, he says, “I do see plenty of young musicians who could carry the baton.”

In 2005, Albright and his family left Los Angeles for Colorado. He says, “I did some soul searching; I started looking at how records were being marketed, the strength of the Internet, looking at the budgets that had been depleted for artists to do their records, and the ownership of masters.” Albright explains, “Basically, if you sign a record deal, you give away your masters, they take your licensing away.” Albright had produced some of his own music at the outset of his career. Eventually, he says, “I was fortunate enough to work with labels that just said, ‘Bring us a good record that we can market.’”

In LA, he was in “the clique.” He had done a lot of sessions and several movies. Early on, Albright knew that, to be successful, he had to manage his own campaign, reaching out to as many artists as possible, getting his sound and style in as many places as possible. He built a loyal audience—a fan base to whom he felt he could easily market new music.

“I stepped out on faith. I let my manager go, I let my record company go, I even let my travel agent go, and put everything under the umbrella of Bright [Music].” He’s never looked back, adding, “I’m happier now as an independent artist than I’ve ever been as an artist signed to a label.”

For Albright, who joined the union in the ’80s, it was very functional. He contracted signatory recordings through the union, saying, “Over the years, it’s worked logistically. I love our union, and in terms of protecting musicians, they do a stellar job.”

“It’s a whole different way of marketing now,” says Albright and that means leveraging his fan base. He has found excitement in the second stage of an already illustrious career. “Now that my record company has a nice foundation, we can fulfill some dreams. Now, I can record any album I want to record and not on a label’s schedule.” He’s looking to dabble in different genres. Albright says, “I want to do a gospel record—keep the R&B and contemporary jazz—but do a traditional jazz record, a Christmas record. I want to be able to rent out a studio and bring in some favorite musicians and do it old school again, with real sound. The real deal.”

union election

Union Election Transitions

In the December 2016 issue of the International Musician, I devoted my column in part to union election transitions. It seems like a good time to revisit the topic. We think of December as the month that brings the year to a close and January as a month that sets the stage for new beginnings. Many union elections take place in December, and from time to time, new union officers are elected to take the reins of their local. On occasion, the election can be preceded by contentious campaigns that leave the outgoing officers feeling unappreciated.

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federal government

A Look at Who Controls the Federal Government in 2019

On January 3, the 115th Session of the US House of Representatives gaveled out and immediately thereafter, the 116th Congress, fresh off caucus elections of new leadership, gaveled in.

New House leadership was elected. At the conclusion of the vote for Speaker of the House, which is now under Democratic control, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was installed with 220 votes to 192 votes cast for Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). A handful of other members received nominations and votes for the position of speaker. The aggregate total among other members was 18 votes, far too few to upset the calculus. The majority of votes were cast along party lines, divided between Pelosi and McCarthy. 

federal government

Immediately after the 2016 elections, the newly installed Donald Trump administration quickly moved to consolidate power by filling its cabinet with loyalists to whom he immediately gave a primary mandate: unwind Obama-era regulatory changes. The 2018 midterm elections saw historic gains and change within the House Democratic Party leading to a split in previously held single party rule.

The 116th House member count stands at 235 Democrats to 199 Republicans. All three branches of government—Executive, Legislative, and Judicial—saw change in 2018.  

After the January 3 House leadership vote, Republican Leader McCarthy (absent retired Republican Speaker Paul Ryan), ceremonially handed the Speaker’s gavel to Pelosi, underscoring the smooth transition of American government and power. The new Congress was set. With 2018 elections leaving the Senate in Republican control, no leadership changes took place in the upper chamber.

Who are the players?

federal government
In January, AFM Legislative and Political Director Alfonso Pollard attended an event at the AFL-CIO hosted by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The purpose of the event was to introduce new members of Congress and key Democratic Committee chairs of the newly minted 116th Congress. The event was well attended by union officers and staff.

Though no elections were held for president, the stability of the president’s administration has been challenged by high-level resignations and firings. In the Senate, the Republican majority remained in power, Democrats 47 (loss of 2) and Republicans and 53 (gain of 2).

The White House (The Administration): President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence

Senate Republican Majority Leadership: President Mike Pence and President Pro Tempore Chuck Grassley, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Majority Whip John Thune

Senate Democratic Minority Leadership: Leader and Caucus Chair Chuck Schumer, Minority Whip Dick Durbin, Chief Deputy Whip Jeff Merkley, and Assistant Leader Patty Murray

US House of Representatives Democratic Majority Leadership: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, Assistant Leader Ben Ray Luján, Assistant to the Majority Whip Cedric Richmond, Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries

US House of Representatives Republican Minority Leadership: Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Chief Deputy Whip Drew Ferguson

US Supreme Court: Chief Justice John Roberts (C); Associate Justices Clarence Thomas (C), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (L), Stephen Breyer (L), Samuel Alito (C), Sonia Sotomayor (L), Elena Kagan (L), Neil Gorsuch (C), Brett Kavanaugh (C) (The 2018 “Roberts Court” began deliberations October 1, 2018)

Search for your US Representative and Senator by typing your address and clicking the state at: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members.


The US is now confronted with a divided government. At the outset of the 116th Congress, this will embolden each party to fight hard for the ideals they believe their American constituents sent them to Washington, DC, to protect. Major issues such as immigration reform, border security, healthcare, job security, efficient government, retirement security, and a stable social security system are at the top of the American public’s list. It is hoped by all that a cooperative resolution to the current government shutdown will be illustrative of how bi-partisan comity can and will positively affect policy issues. 

music performance trust fund

Recruitment, Retention, and Organizing with a Revitalized Music Performance Trust Fund

If you missed the excellent article by Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) Trustee Dan Beck in our January 2019 issue of the International Musician, entitled “Accelerating the MPTF Mission for 2019,” I encourage you to go back, find it, and read it. Dan’s article can be read together with my June 2018 column about the employment, audience-building, and community recognition advantages that can be realized through smart MPTF programs.

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