Tag Archives: award

Bob Weir Honored with Music for Life Award

During the January 2018 NAMM Show NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond presented Local 6 (San Francisco, CA) member Bob Weir with the organization’s Music for Life Award. Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images.

AFM Local 6 (San Francisco, CA) member Bob Weir was honored at the opening of the 2018 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in Anaheim, California. NAMM’s highest honor, the Music for Life Award honors Weir’s five-decade career and pioneering spirit, influencing musical styles, sound design, and the music business.

NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond presented the award saying, “The Grateful Dead inspired a movement by taking incredible risks musically, culturally and in terms of how they approached the music business. They did so out of a passion for music making and, as a result, continue to inspire musicians to this day. We’re honored to present Bob Weir with the Music for Life Award for this his unabashed passion for music making, support for music education and so many more achievements in his long career.”

Weir offered a bit of creative wisdom for the audience of music professionals. “If you’re always going for it, the muse is always leading you in some direction. If you have faith in your muse, you’re going to get somewhere-if you put shoulder to the wheel. Every artist of any stripe is a storyteller, and the way you weave it together represents what makes life worth living.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of famer and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is currently a member of Dead & Company, which features Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, all members of Local 6, along with singer-songwriter John Mayer of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) and Jeff Chimenti of Local 6. Weir will tour this spring with fellow Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh, also a member of Local 6.

Past recipients of the Music for Life Award have included business leaders, public officials and musicians, including Stevie Wonder of Local 5 (Detroit, MI) and Henry Mancini. It is awarded each January during the global music products gathering, The NAMM Show.

AFM Members Among USA Fellows

Two AFM members of Local 802 (New York City) are among this year’s United States Arts (USA) fellows. Jazz saxophonist-composer Wayne Shorter and composer, conductor, educator Tania León will each receive unrestricted $50,000 cash awards. This year, USA selected a total of 45 artists from all disciplines who live and work across the US through its rigorous nomination and panel selection process. Founded in 2006 by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential Foundations, USA is among the largest providers of unrestricted support to US artists. To date, it has provided more than $22 million in unrestricted $50,000 rewards to more than 500 artists in every stage of their careers.

Kristin Joham

Spokane Symphony Member Awarded Union Plus Scholarship

Kristin JohamAFM Local 105 (Spokane, WA) member Kristin Joham has been awarded a $1,000 Union Plus scholarship. Joham, who has been a member of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra and adjunct professor at Eastern Washington University since 2008, plans to study speech and hearing sciences. She completed Washington State University’s post-baccalaureate program in 2016. She plans to attend graduate school this fall and hopes to use her musical background and speech therapy training to create a multifaceted team approach for patients with neurogenic communication and motor speech disorders.

Joham holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance from Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music where she was in the Honors Scholars Program. She grew up in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, where her grandparents were very active in the National Education Association. “I was born into a union household, and my opinion of the importance of public education and teachers’ rights is still strong in me today,” she says. “Now as an AFM member, I am constantly reminded of the need and power of a union to fight for workers’ rights.”

In its 26th year, the Union Plus Scholarship Program awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 106 students representing 31 unions, in 2017. Recipients included university, college, and trade or technical school students in 35 states. The program, offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation, awards its scholarships based on outstanding academic achievement, personal character, financial need, and commitment to the values of organized labor.

Visit unionplus.org/scholarship for details and to apply.

Musicians Recognized for Community Service

Three AFM musicians received 2017 Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service in May. Violinist Diane McElfish Helle of Local 56 (Grand Rapids, MI) leads the Grand Rapid Symphony’s Music for Health initiative, which sends symphony musicians into hospitals to assist with patient rehabilitation and support. Since 2002, she has also worked with the String Discovery Ensemble, a violin quartet offering hands-on musical experience to 4th graders. In her 37th year with Grand Rapids Symphony, McElfish Helle also created Grand Rapid’s Upbeat pre-concert lecture series.

In addition to being a violist with The Phoenix Symphony since 1995, Mark Dix of Local 586 (Phoenix, AZ) has been active in educational and health and wellness programs including Mind Over Music (science based string orchestra programs), B-Sharp Music Wellness, and A WONDER Project Alzheimer’s Initiative.

Kansas City Symphony principal flute since 2007, Michael Gordon of Local 34-627 (Kansas City, MO) has worked hard to promote the value of music in his community through Community Connections. He collaborated with Arts in Prison to produce a series of chamber music concerts for inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility. He’s also a board member of the Northeast Community Center, which operates Harmony Project KC, a tuition-free music education program for underprivileged children.

A panel of peer professionals selected the musicians through a competitive nomination process. The awards include a $2,500 grant for each musician and a $2,500 grant to each musician’s home orchestra to support professional development focused on community service and engagement for musicians.

Academy Honors AFM Musicians

JoAnn Falletta of Local 125 (Norfolk, VA), music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Virginia Symphony, and legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October.

Wayne_ShorterA recipient of many of the world’s top conducting awards, Falletta’s recordings have also garnered two Grammy awards and multiple Grammy nominations. She is frequently invited to guest conduct nationally and abroad, with performances in Montreal, Spain, and Finland, as well as recordings with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony. 

Jazz saxophonist Shorter of Local 802 (New York) is equally known for his talent as a composer, with many of his pieces are considered jazz standards. He has played with every major jazz artist and maestro, most notably Miles Davis (along with Local 802 members Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter, and Tony Williams) in the classic Second Great Quintet. In the 1970s, he cofounded the influential jazz fusion band, Weather Report.

Edward Avedisian

Veteran Musician and Union Member Edward Avedisian Receives Medal of Honor

Edward AvedisianThe National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) has awarded musician and philanthropist Edward Avedisian of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

“Not only is Ed Avedisian an exceptional musician, he is an extraordinary humanitarian,” says Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) President Patrick Hollenbeck, reflecting on this prestigious honor. “Little did we know that the quiet man with clarinet in hand was making people’s lives better across the globe in his spare time.”

Avedisian’s career spans 55 years, as a performing symphonic musician, professor, arts administrator, and philanthropist. He retired after 30 years as clarinetist with the Boston Pops and more than 40 seasons with the Boston Ballet Orchestra. Avedisian has contributed much to the Armenian community and the American University of Armenia (AUA), namely the Center for Health Studies and Research and the Center for Business Research and Development. He is sole benefactor and chair of the AUA Oversight Committee for the Nork Marash Medical Center, which performs open heart surgeries for children at no cost. Other projects include the Paramaz Avedisian Pharmacy Scholarship at University of Rhode Island, the Chobanian Professorship at Boston University Medical Center, and the BU Tanglewood Scholarship. 

“I am very proud to accept the Ellis Island Medal of Honor this year,” says Avedisian. “Ellis Island reminds us that we are a welcoming nation built on diversity. I salute the efforts of NECO and greatly appreciate the honor symbolized by the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.”

One of the nation’s most prestigious awards, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor has been awarded each year since 1986 and recognizes individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents, and selfless generosity, all the while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they embody the American dream.

Past recipients include Eli Wiesel, Rosa Parks, Colin Powell, Frank Sinatra, and Mohammad Ali, plus six US presidents.

John Williams Receives Life Achievement Award

With 50 Academy Award nominations to his credit and nearly six decades’ worth of iconic film and television themes, composer John Williams of Locals 47 (Los Angeles, CA) and 9-535 (Boston, MA) has many achievements. On June 9, a gala celebrated Williams as the latest recipient of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award—the first composer to ever receive the award.

Williams, 84, was honored by an A-list assortment of the filmmakers and stars of the many films his music has enriched, including Harry Potter, Superman, and every Star Wars film. Steven Spielberg—who has had a 44-year, 27-film collaboration with Williams, including beloved scores for Jaws, E.T., Jurassic Park, and Schindler’s List—was the first to pay tribute to the movie/music titan.

“Without John Williams, bikes don’t really fly, nor do brooms in Quidditch matches, and nor do men in red capes. There is no Force. Dinosaurs do not walk the Earth. We do not wonder; we do not weep; we do not believe,” Spielberg told a star-packed audience, in reference to a just a few of Williams more than 150 film and television credits.

Read our Cover Story on Williams here. 

juno awards

AFM Canada Musicians Take Home JUNO Awards

by Canadian Electronic Media Contract Administrator Daniel Calabrese and International Representative for Canada Allistair Elliot

juno awards

AFM Electronic Media Contract Administrator Daniel Calabrese (left) with Local 247 (Victoria, BC) member Alex Cuba.

The 2016 JUNO Awards were held in Calgary, Alberta, Sunday, April 3. Leading up to the televised event, the city hosted JUNOfest, which included more than 150 performances in 15 different venues. In true Canadian fashion, there was a hockey game, appropriately named: JUNO Cup, featuring ex-NHLers against musicians. Canadian Office International Representative Allistair Elliott and Contract Administrator Daniel Calabrese represented the AFM/CFM at JUNO Week.

One thing that struck a chord was the diversity that defines Canada’s culture. The JUNO Awards were created to honour and promote Canadian Artists.

We attended a broad range of performances, from Local 180 (Ottawa, ON) members the Cancer Bats, to Local 247 (Victoria, BC) member Alex Cuba. The majority of the venues reached capacity, as they packed with fans in love with Canadian music of all genres. From performances of emerging artists to inducting legends like Local 190 (Winnipeg, MB) member Burton Cummings into Canada’s Music Hall of Fame, it was refreshing to see a vast number of AFM/CFM members taking part in JUNO Week. We were proud to celebrate the many members who took home a JUNO this year (a list of AFM/CFM JUNO Award winners with signatory recordings follows).

The live, televised award show, from Calgary’s Saddledome, was co-hosted by Local 547 (Calgary, AB) member, Jann Arden, and included performances by Local 149 (Toronto, ON) members Robi Botos and Allison Au, together with 80-year-old, first-time nominee Al Muirhead (of Local 547). He was supported by Tommy Banks of Local 390 (Edmonton, AB), Kodi Hutchinson (Local 547), and Mark Kelso (Local 149). They performed a memorable all-star jam at the awards gala the previous evening.

Muirhead passionately felt the support of the whole community, performing alongside his friend and musical partner Tommy Banks (Local 390) from the nominated album It’s About Time. Between these two gentlemen, there is more than 120 years of musical history, plus 60 years of friendship. After being a sideman for countless projects, Muirhead’s nomination for [Solo] Jazz Album of the Year, was very well deserved. His supporting cast is pictured above.

Calgary set the bar high during this year’s JUNOFest. Next year the nation’s capital, Ottawa, will be the host city. JUNO Week 2017 will be one of the major events in the city as it celebrates Canada’s 150th anniversary with a yearlong series of special events, exhibits, and immersive experiences.

juno awards

Photo: (L to R): Chris Andrew of Local 390 (Edmonton, AB); Kodi Hutchinson of Local 547 (Calgary, AB); Jens Lindemann and PJ Perry of Local 390; Al Muirhead of Local 547; Tommy Banks of Local 390; Tyler Hornby of Local 547; and AFM Canadian International Representative Allistair Elliott.

AFM Member JUNO Award Winners whose albums were signatory to AFM Contracts include:

Classical Album of the Year Large Ensemble or Soloist with Large Ensemble Accompaniment: Symphony and New Works for Organ and Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, members of Local 406 (Montreal, PQ)
Breakthrough Group of the Year: Dear Rouge, members of Local 145
Producer of the Year: Bob Ezrin of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA)

Nelson to Be Honored with Gershwin Prize

Nelson to Be Honored with Gershwin PrizeLibrarian of Congress James Billington announced that Local 433 (Austin, TX) Willie Nelson will be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular music. The Gershwin prize honors a living music artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting song to enhance cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations. He will be recognized for the honor in Washington, DC, in November.

“Willie Nelson is a musical explorer, redrawing the boundaries of country music throughout his career,” says Billington. “A master communicator, the sincerity and universally appealing message of his lyrics place him in a category of his own, while still remaining grounded in his country-music roots. His achievements as a songwriter and performer are legendary. Like America itself, he has absorbed and assimilated diverse stylistic influences into his stories and songs. He has helped make country music one of the most universally beloved forms of American artistic expression.”

Nelson has written numerous country-music standards, and has made 200-plus recordings that cross many genres. He is also a noted author, actor, and activist, who continues to thrive in a career that has spanned six decades.

Previous winners of the Gershwin Prize for Popular music include Local 802 (New York City) members Paul Simon and Carole King, Local 5 (Detroit, MI) member Stevie Wonder; and the songwriting duo Burt Bacharach of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) and the late Hal David.