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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)

Travel Advice with violin case

Travel Advice From the AFM for Musicians Flying with Instruments

Making your Reservation

Ask for priority boarding. Request (or purchase) “zone 1” boarding, which will allow you early access to overhead stowage.

Inform carrier representative(s) that you are transporting a musical instrument. Carriers are required to inform passengers about any plane limitations and restrictions.

Rules relating to on-board stowage will apply to any instrument that meets FAA carry-on size requirements.

Packing & Carrying Your Instrument

Remove any sharp tools, like reed knives and end pins, and liquids that do not comply with TSA’s three-ounce regulation.

In case your instrument is not allowed in the cabin with you, be sure to have a proper travel case to avoid damage.

Board early: Overhead and under seat stowage is on a first come, first serve basis. Once an instrument is stowed in-cabin, it cannot be removed or be replaced by other bags.

Deal Calmly with Problems

If you are stopped by a flight attendant, calmly and quickly explain the precautions you have taken to prepare your instrument to safely travel in-cabin.

  • Be accommodating. Suggest placing the instrument in the storage area designated by gate and flight attendants.
  • If necessary, immediately ask to de-plane so that you can resolve this matter with airline supervisors.
  • Be prepared for the possibility that you may not be able to travel with your instrument in the cabin.

Study and follow guidance outlined in federal and air carrier online policy statements.



Yamaha Honors Young Musicians

Each year Yamaha Corporation’s Young Artist Services and Band and Orchestra Division honor and encourage young musicians through the Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition. Competitors submit recordings and supporting material, which are evaluated by a panel of Yamaha performing artists and celebrity musicians. Nine winners receive an all-expense paid trip to YYPA Celebration Weekend. Held June 20-23 this year, the weekend included rehearsals, master classes, social events, and workshops focused on how to establish and maintain a career in music. It culminated with a concert at Emens Auditorium, Ball State University, which kicked-off Yamaha’s Music for All Summer Symposium.

This year’s YYPA winners include: Michael Alampi (flute) Glen Ridge, New Jersey; Graeme Johnson (clarinet) Austin, Texas; Stuart Englehart (bassoon) Olmsted Falls, Ohio; Patrick Bartley, Jr., (saxophone) Hollywood, Florida; Braden Waddell (trumpet) Graham, Washington; Zachary Grass (tuba) Waynesboro, Pennsylvania; Misaki Nakamichi (drum set) Osaka, Japan; Kyle Price (cello) Worthington, Ohio; and Jae Young Kim (piano) Seoul, South Korea.

The YYPA Program underscores Yamaha’s commitment to music education and recognizes exceptional emerging jazz, classical, and contemporary musicians. This year’s featured artist was saxophonist, composer, and educator Jeff Coffin. The three-time Grammy winner and bandleader presents music clinics nationwide. Many past YYPA winners have gone on to successful careers in the music industry, including Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA) member and The Philadelphia Orchestra principal clarinet Ricardo Morales, as well as Local 33 (Tucson, AZ) member and Tucson Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet Conrad Jones.


new use

Having Musicians on the Boards of Directors May Not be a Good Idea


Steve Mosher

Bernard LeBlanc, Director, Symphonic Services AFM Canada

Bernard LeBlanc

by Steve Mosher, Associate Director, Symphonic Services AFM Canada, and Bernard LeBlanc, Director, Symphonic Services AFM Canada

A quick look at the 2014 OCSM Wage Chart indicates that 17 of 20 Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM/OMOSC) orchestras have at least one representative to their boards of directors. One orchestra has four representatives, and six orchestras have full voting responsibilities. The time that we’ve spent on this topic is reminiscent of the discussions we’ve had about whether musicians and other workers in the arts in Canada should be considered employees or self-employed. While there’s still no definitive ruling on the employee versus self-employed question, there is news on the matter of musicians on boards of directors.

The point here is not to argue the pros and cons of musician involvement with our boards. There are several articles in the archives of the AFM, the player conferences, and the Symphony Orchestra Institute that deal with this issue. The discussion was rekindled in November 2013, when Orchestras Canada received an opinion letter from a law firm regarding the remuneration of directors, with reference to changes in the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act. There are a few such opinions available on the web at sites like Canadian Charity Law. The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General website offers the following:

“Generally a charity cannot pay a director to act in the capacity of a director. Also, a director cannot be paid for services provided in any other capacity, unless permitted by a court order. In appropriate circumstances, payment for services other than as a director may be allowed by court order or by an order made under section 13 of the Charities Accounting Act, where it is in the charity’s best interest to do so.”

(NOTE: Registered charities are often referred to as not-for-profit organizations. However, while both types of organizations operate on a not-for-profit basis, they are defined differently under the Income Tax Act. The terms “charity” and “not-for-profit” are interchangeable for the purposes of this article, since the same rules apply to both.)

The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General further addresses the duty to avoid conflict of interest: “Directors and trustees should avoid conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest arises when a director or trustee has a personal interest in the result of a decision made by the charity.” Katherine Carleton of Orchestras Canada shared their opinion letter with the delegates at the 2014 OCSM/OMOSC Conference and it gets more to the point, “In general, if an orchestra is a charity, then any musicians who are paid directly or indirectly by an orchestra cannot sit on the board of that orchestra as a director, regardless of whether the board seat is voting or nonvoting.”

There are always wrinkles to legislation, and there is no absolute rule that covers every situation. The Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act applies in provinces that follow common law. A provincial court can state that a common law rule does not apply in that province. In the case of Quebec, there appears to be no restriction on board participation by employees in not-for-profit organizations, since it is the only province in Canada that follows civil law, not common law. There is one orchestra in Quebec that has taken over its board, installing musicians. They feel that this is the only way to keep the orchestra afloat and it seems to be working, at least in the short term.

But Michel Nadeau, general director of The Institute of Governance of Private and Public Organizations (IGOPP) in Montreal, is clear: musicians should not be members of boards of directors, no matter as voting member or not. He explains that decisions taken by all board members are for the long-term viability and well-being of the organization; these decisions might be against musicians’ interests and would put the musician in a difficult position facing his peers. He adds that annual activity reports from the executive director or the board to the musicians should be a priority of management to maintain good working relations and should be sufficient information from the board.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra deals with musician representation in Article 27.7 of their collective agreement, as follows: “On an annual basis, two members of the orchestra shall be selected by the Orchestra Committee, with the approval of the members of the orchestra, to attend regular meetings of the board of directors, as permitted by the board of directors. To be clear, orchestra members are not members of the board of directors and, as such, do not have any voting or decision-making power.”

For Canadian orchestras, musician participation on boards of directors needs to end. We want to ensure that our orchestras comply with the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. At various times in the past, the AFM and OCSM have had voting representatives (or ex-officio status—also no longer allowed) to the Orchestras Canada Board of Directors. Orchestras Canada is in the process of changing their bylaws to ensure that they invite guests “fundamentally vital to our operations” so that the AFM and OCSM have voice in an informal arrangement. The same can apply to our orchestras.

There are alternatives to full participation on your orchestra’s board. Musicians should be allowed to attend board meetings as guests, with the right to speak. Musicians should also be welcome to sit on committees and advisory boards, since musicians are directly affected by the decisions made at those meetings. It’s one thing to have a voice in meetings but, according to the rules, a vote at the board is a clear conflict of interest. The message that we understand from the documents available to us is that directors cannot receive salaries, stipends, grants, honorariums, or consulting fees from a charity. The only way you can sit on the board is if you’re playing in the orchestra for free. Or you can seek a court order, but both options are rather extreme.

Employee or self-employed? We’ve probably passed the 50th anniversary of that debate, and for those of us who want to keep it going, it’s still alive. There might still be some life in the board discussion as well, but at least we now have clear parameters to guide the conversation.

we support fair trade music

Fair Trade Music Seattle Builds on Its Success

by Paul Bigman, Organizer Local 76-493 (Seattle, WA)

we support fair trade musicSeattle’s Fair Trade Music campaign has picked up momentum in recent months. More than 20 clubs have signed on as Fair Trade Music venues, City Council has declared Fair Trade Music Day, and additional musician loading zones are in the works. The campaign now has separate committees working on education, research, legislation, and outreach. With funding from Local 76-493 (Seattle, WA) and guidance from the AFM’s Organizing & Education (O&E) Division, Fair Trade Music has also hired a grad student through University of Washington’s Harry Bridges Labor Center to conduct research on the impact of the music industry on the local economy.

How did this happen?

Nate Omdal, a key campaign leader, is an upright bassist who plays jazz and hip-hop. As a result of getting involved in Fair Trade Music, he now sits on the board of Local 76-493. “The training that we had on organizing and on our local music scene was, in some ways, our greatest achievement,” he says. “It got us all on the same page. It showed musicians that we didn’t have any ulterior motives—that we had common problems that we could go after [by] working together.”

After more than a year of steadily building support, the campaign held a panel discussion with musicians from varied genres, stressing that Fair Trade Music needed their input to get a clear picture of the local music scene and to identify issues that are most important to them. “We were satisfied to go slow,” stresses Omdal. “We understood that we had to build the legs before the table. As a result, we picked up people who we can rely on for the next five years—not just activists, but torch-bearers.”

fair trade Seattle city council

Seattle City Council Finance and Culture Committee listens to musician testimony, (L to R) are: City Council President Tim Burgess, Council member and resolution co-sponsor Mike O’Brien, Council Member Jean Godden, and Committee Chair and resolution co-sponsor Council member Nick Licata.

Local 76-493 member Jay Kenney, a pianist and co-founder of Fair Trade Music in Seattle, also cited the importance of the process. “The most important gain of the campaign is the empowerment of musicians that have joined. By working together, we can get stuff done,” he says.

Building on the impetus of that panel, the organizing committee developed templates for performance agreements, as well as a sample e-mail to gather information for agreements. Since then, the campaign has run two successful classes on how to negotiate agreements with club owners.

At the same time that these educational efforts were carried out, the musicians reached out to club owners to sign a Fair Trade Music pledge, and to the political and labor communities to sign a statement of support for the campaign. A dozen musician activists met with members of the Seattle City Council, and with the mayor’s labor liaison. All council members, as well as the mayor, signed the support statement. From there, it was a fairly easy step to get the city council to declare Fair Trade Music Day. Half a dozen musicians joined Jeff Johnson, president of the 400,000-member Washington State Labor Council, in testifying for the resolution.

“We need to recognize that cultural workers are just like other workers,” Johnson says, “but many musicians have no income protection in the clubs.”

David Guilbault, a singer-songwriter, agrees: “Our work is given little or no value. It’s considered a labor of love. But it is labor, and I should be paid for my labor.”

The meetings with council members, as well as the musicians’ testimony, hit home with the city leaders. Council member Nick Licata, a co-sponsor of the resolution, stresses: “This legislation has literally come from the grass roots.” Based on what he learned from the Fair Trade Music leaders, he says that the situation facing many musicians is “basically a form of wage theft, dying from a thousand cuts. For Seattle to remain a national cultural hub, we must treat our musicians to fair working conditions.”

The publicity from Fair Trade Music Day has attracted widespread attention, both in Seattle and nationally. Locally, several more clubs have signed on, plus productions by Seattle Theatre Group at about 20 additional venues. The campaign has attracted attention from several other unions as a model for nontraditional organizing. Articles in Seattle Gay News raised Fair Trade Music’s profile in the LGBT community. Nationally, there has been interest from diverse sources: the AFL-CIO, Working America, as well as an Occupy Wall Street related blog.

Local 76-493 President Motter Snell emphasizes that key to the success of the campaign has been its firm roots among the affected musicians. “We’ve had 30 musicians engaged in organizing activity just in 2015,” she explains. “The outreach to the venues, recruitment of other musicians, talking with elected officials—that’s all been done by musician activists.”

Equally important, decisions about campaign priorities and direction have also come from musicians. “Our local’s leadership and staff, as well as the [AFM] International’s organizing staff, have helped to educate and train the club musicians,” Snell stresses, “but part of empowering the musicians is giving them the authority to make decisions about their work lives.”

fair trade musicians at city hall in Seattle

Seattle musicians prepare for testimony on the Fair Trade Music Day resolution, (L to R) are: Katrina Kope, Steve Roseta, Tara Babette, David Levin, Michael Owcharuk, Jay Kenney, Nate Omdal, and Jason Arnold.

One real asset in the campaign has been the involvement of seasoned professionals who may have little to gain for themselves, like Michael Owcharuk, an established jazz pianist and composer. “It’s a way I can do something civic-minded,” he says. “I can contribute to my field.” He sees his leadership as important for younger musicians, and for the future.

The work of the AFM O&E Division as important for the campaign, says Snell. “The existence of a coordinated national campaign has been tremendously helpful,” she says, “not only in providing guidance and advice, but also in connecting us with other locals facing similar issues.”

Snell also credited pioneering work done by other locals. “Portland came up with this concept, and laid the groundwork. Local 1000 [nongeographic] has provided a lot of guidance with their Fair Trade Music program. And, of course, Nashville [Local 257] led the way with musician loading zones.”

Moving forward, the campaign has several areas of focus,  including putting Fair Trade Music decals (pictured above) in the windows of participating venues and nailing down support from the Martin Luther King Jr. County Council. The Labor Center research project will build on a 2008 City of Seattle study, which found that music contributes $2.6 billion annually to the area economy. The new research will likely show an even greater impact. Fair Trade Music plans to develop classes on the use of social media to promote music, drawing on the knowledge of experienced musicians and the local community college.

On the legislative front, the campaign will explore unreasonable restrictions in noncompete clauses at area festivals, as well as the changing local taxes, which appear to serve neither the music community, nor the city.

Focus will remain on increasing musician involvement in the campaign, as well as expanding the venues signed on to the standards. Once more clubs have signed on, Fair Trade Music hopes to move toward stronger standards for the venues.

“We’re asking that people go to the clubs that treat musicians fairly,” says Omdal. “Seattle values our music, and we call ourselves a music city. We need to back that up by valuing musicians, as well as their music.”

International Federation of Musicians: Lessons Learned from Musicians Unions from Around the World

Attending the executive committee meetings of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) in Helsinki brought home the importance of having ongoing relations with the other musicians’ unions in the world. Too often we focus on problems that impact us directly and personally, which leads to isolated thinking, oblivious that others have or have had similar issues elsewhere.

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Recording Musicians Associations Represents AFM’s Recording Musicians, a Year in Review

Marc Sazerby Marc Sazer, President Recording Musicians Association (RMA) and Member of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA)

Elayne Jones is a luminary musical pioneer. A premier timpanist, she broke down barriers throughout her stellar career: as first woman and first African-American to play timpani in major orchestras. She began with the New York City Opera in 1949, and her career extended to the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera. Today, in her 80s, Jones counts on her union pension for security in her retirement.

The recently ratified agreement between our union and the film and TV studios will now make Jones’ pension more secure. Recording musicians helped craft a proposal to contribute a portion of the residuals from the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF) to the AFM pension fund as a whole. Once the trustees have worked out procedures, this contribution will not be earmarked for individual benefits. Instead, the new money will help secure the fund for all of us, from young musicians just starting out to retirees, like Jones.

The Recording Musicians Association (RMA) is proud to help ensure retirement security, and we work tirelessly with our union to maximize employment opportunities for musicians. Music in electronic media produces Midas-like wealth for those who own and monetize it, and should produce good industry standard employment for the musicians who create it.

Electronic media has been transformed by technology, tax credits, ever-changing styles, business developments, and cultural trends. But there are a few constants.

Our union musicians are the preeminent source of music recorded for all media. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) tracks global record sales, physical and digital. Their research, online at the website: www.ifpi.org/best-sellers.php, shows that the top sellers throughout the world are produced by AFM members. Motion pictures are a global enterprise, blown around the globe on the winds of tax credits, yet year after year AFM musicians record the largest number of film scores for wide-release films.

Attachment to both the business model of our employers, and the trends and actions of our sister unions in the entertainment labor movement, are key to economic survival.

Companies naturally seek to make money more efficiently, and over time tend to make less product, exploiting our music in more markets and platforms. Fewer films are made and released, fewer records are released, fewer big investments are made in live TV shows. New media distribution of content is the future, and union musicians are empowered stakeholders. In records, film, TV, and commercials, our contracts ensure that we are attached to the new media and future media success of our employers.

Following the lead of other entertainment industry unions makes sense. Musician participation in the bounties of new media is in large part due to the strength, vision, and sacrifice of our brother and sister union members who write, act, direct, film, transport, and otherwise contribute to our worldwide entertainment culture. From the actor’s strike in 1960 that established residuals for the film industry to the 2007-2008 strike by writers that laid the groundwork for new media coverage for all, from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) activists who successfully organized the TV show Survivor, to the activist musicians who demanded union session wages, residuals, pension, and health care for the orchestra of Mad Men, we stand on many strong shoulders.

We can strengthen our benefits, such as the pension fund, and we can pursue industry standard employment. We can make headway with legislation at the federal, state, provincial, and local levels. We can help the next generation, and the next, working to ensure that equal pay for equal work includes generations, as well as gender. All of this is possible only insofar as we as musicians talk amongst ourselves, work out our disagreements, find our common interests, and ultimately, stand together.