Tag Archives: support

FCC Chair Pushes to End Net Neutrality

At the Federal Communications Commission meeting being held on December 14th, FCC Chair Ajit Pai is expected to seek the repeal of almost all of the agency’s net neutrality regulations.

Current net neutrality regulations ensure that all web traffic is treated equally, effectively preventing Internet providers like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon from blocking or throttling traffic. Public interest groups and Democratic lawmakers are sounding the alarm. Fight for Future is planning a protest at Verizon stores on December 7.

Support net neutrality by signing this petition.

Trumpeter Goes the Distance for Charity

Roy Wiegand’s career has crossed nearly four decades—and of late, many finish lines. For the last eight years, the Los Angeles-based trumpeter turned ultra-runner has taken on solo challenges in support of local and global charities.


A busy freelancer in the LA area, Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) member Roy Wiegand’s passion for running charity ulta-marathons can sometimes have him running from race to gig.

Wiegand of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) first collaborated with Lifewater International, a nonprofit organization that builds wells for remote villages in East Africa and Southeast Asia. In an ultra-marathon in 2013, in which he ran 250 miles over a week, he received a hero’s welcome after finishing at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Stopping at a couple of elementary schools along the way, he says, “I had a bottle of brown water from a village in Ethiopia to show people. Those kids sold cookies and brownies for a month before the run to raise money for other kids in Ethiopia.” He raised $25,000 over four years. “The disease rate had dropped 93%. Now, they can actually wash their hands.” According to Wiegand, “Between digging and maintaining the well it costs $40, which provides a lifetime of clean water per person.”

In June, for the Michael Hoefflin Foundation—a local organization for families with children fighting cancer—Wiegand ran the equivalent of four marathons in 24 hours (approximately 105 miles). He’s raised $40,000 for the organization. Roy’s Run for Christopher, now in its fifth year, is named for the 12-year-old friend of his son who died of a rare cancer.

Though Wiegand started running late in life, in his 40s, he says being a brass player pays off. “I’ve got lung capacity—and can run long distances without getting tired,” adding that it’s his colleagues who are all heart. The LA music community and the union serve him well on the trail. “Many musicians donate financially or with their music, or coming out and bicycling beside me.” During the grueling 24-hour  runs, whether it’s encouragement on the sidelines, supplying water, or a place to sit down, Wiegand is grateful for the support of his Local 47 friends. “It’s definitely not a one-man show. When you’re running through the dead of night, it’s good to have company.” One year, he says, there was a brass quintet to usher him over the finish line.

A few years back, the night before the LA marathon, he had a gig that went overtime. “I dropped off my trumpet and tux at the finish, ran the marathon—and actually, did my best time—took a nap, put on my tux, and played the next gig.” Laughing he says, “It’s typical of a freelance player who’s always trying to shoehorn in work or running wherever they can.”

Live club dates are his mainstay, but in his spare time Wiegand is a private music instructor who also coaches a high school jazz band. “Sometimes, it’s hard for parents to wrap their heads around music or the performing arts as a major and a potential career. It’s a leap of faith,” he says.

It was not much of a stretch for Wiegand whose father, Roy Wiegand, Jr., of Local 47, is a trombonist who played around the country in Stan Kenton’s and Woody Herman’s orchestras. The family moved around a bit, with stops in New York City, Miami, New Orleans, and Las Vegas. Wiegand showed prodigious talent at age seven and was naturally drawn to brass. He says his dad’s only seeming objection to his career choice was, “The trumpet, not the trombone?”

Wiegand moved to Los Angeles after high school and attended Los Angeles City College. After a year, though, he started getting calls to go out on the road. “Being paid to play was too strong a lure,” he says. “Plus, years ago, there was a lot of work out there.” He’s a versatile session musician, who plays jazz, classical, klezmer, bebop, mariachi, Dixieland, even salsa. He is also principal trumpet for the Desert Symphony in Palm Springs, California.


(L to R) Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) members Angela Wiegand and Roy Wiegand, and their daughter Sophie, pose for a photo midway through his 105-mile run to benefit the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for children’s cancer.

In 1997, a unique opportunity came up. After a symphony performance, he heard that The Who needed brass players for a revival of their 1973 rock opera, Quadrophenia. “A guitarist whose wife was a bassoonist in an orchestra I played with got the call for brass players. She happened to be near the phone and said, ‘Give them Roy’s number.’” Wiegand says. That call led to a year-long tour that took him around the US and throughout Europe.

This past September, 20 years to the day, he played again with The Who at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. “It was a reunion of sorts,” says Wiegand, who was joined on stage by his wife, Angela Wiegand, a Local 47 member and flutist for the Los Angeles Opera. 

One of Wiegand’s regular gigs these days is performing with the band, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, a longtime LA rock and soul band. In between concerts, he is planning his next charity initiative, collaborating with Shelter to Soldier, a nonprofit that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for combat veterans dealing with PTSD and other challenges. Their mission is: “Saving lives, two at a time.”

How do you connect with your community? Is there a cause that you support? Tell us about it. Please write to International Musician managing editor at: cyurco@sfm.org

Detroit Symphony Gift Ties with Largest in Its History

Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) has received a $15 million gift from the William Davidson Foundation. Of that pledge, $5 million comes in the form of a challenge grant to grow the orchestra’s endowment. Three other foundations—Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation, and Dresner Foundation—have already pledged
$3.5 million toward the challenge. DSO’s endowment has increased significantly over the past five years. If fully matched, the challenge grant will bring it to $56.3 million.

The Davidson Foundation has a long history of supporting DSO, and has sponsored DSO’s neighborhood concert series for seven years. The gift ties with one from the Fisher family as the largest single donation in DSO history. The atrium at Fisher Music Center will be named the William Davidson Atrium. Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are members of Local 5 (Detroit, MI).

AFM Locals Participate in May Day Rallies Across the US

Supporters of Hartford Symphony Orchestra Rally at Connecticut State Capitol Building

playing to prepare for rallyOn September 8, Hartford musicians, Local 400 President Joseph Messina and Secretary Candace Lammers, and their supporters gathered outside the Connecticut State Capitol building to rally in support of Hartford Symphony Orchestra, which is fighting for a fair contract. Their last contract expired in 2013, and management has asked them to concede to fewer services and 40% pay cuts.

Among those who came to the Connecticut Capitol to show their support were AFM President Ray Hair, Secretary-Treasurer Sam Folio, and Symphonic Services Division Director Jay Blumenthal; ROPA Treasurer Donna Loomis; ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge; Connecticut AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Treasurer Lori Pelletier; Connecticut AFL-CIO President and Executive Director AFSCME Council 4 Sal Luciano; Connecticut AFL-CIO Trustee Mark Espinosa; Connecticut AFL-CIO President Emeritus and longtime leader John Olsen; representatives of Danbury and Hartford Central Labor Councils; State Representative Andy Fleischmann who is a longtime friend of the labor movement, as well as arts in the schools; Connecticut Education Association representative and former House speaker Chris Donovan; workers from IATSE, AFSCME, United Food and Commercial Workers, AFT Connecticut, and FCIU; plus retirees and other concerned citizens.

Ray Hair gave a rousing speech at the rally where he called out David Fay, president and chief executive officer of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for trying to cut the musicians’ already meager $23,000 salaries, and in effect, destroy the orchestra.


“Nobody can live on $23,000 a year,” explained Hair. “That’s why they schedule rehearsals at night, during the week, to allow symphony musicians to supplement their jobs with daytime teaching and other things. Management wants to cut the workload down to about 115 [from 185] services annually for about $15,000 a season—a reduction of 38%. And what’s worse, that 38% pay cut is in the context of having daytime services. That forces musicians who make ends meet with multiple employers to choose between one job or the other. It’s a no win situation.”

All this is despite perfect concerts, recordings, and sold out shows, he continued. “The spirits that we raised here in the community and the money that we made for the businesses here are not enough for David Fay anymore.” Hair went on to detail more figures: Fay earned $400,000 last year; The Bushnell, Hartford’s performance venue, has assets of $43 million and posted profits last year; and the symphony has assets of nearly $10 million.

people at rally

“I think it’s time for David Fay to face the music in Hartford,” concluded Hair. “The concessions that David Fay is asking this orchestra to concede are completely and totally unjustified. For the employer/employee relationship to function there has to be a fair bargain. If we don’t put a stop to this union busting attitude, not only here in Hartford, but everywhere else, nobody’s ever going to do it. It threatens to destroy what much of labor has achieved over the past century and it’s about to destroy the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.”

Following the rally, Hartford Symphony Orchestra musicians and their supporters marched to The Bushnell and back while carrying signs and chanting.

Hartford Musicians to Rally at Connecticut State Capitol

If you are in the Hartford, Connecticut, area and free on Wednesday, September 9, come out and show your support for the musicians of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra who are fighting for a fair contract. A rally is planned for noon on the north steps of the state capitol building. Speakers at the rally will include AFM International President Ray Hair and Connecticut AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Treasurer Lori Pelletier. Following the rally, musicians will march to Bushnell theater to engage in informational picketing.

Hartford Symphony musicians, members of Local 400 (Hartford, CT), have been fighting for a fair contract since June 2014. Their last contract expired in 2013, and as negotiations began, musicians agreed to a one-year extension. The symphony has proposed nearly 40% wage cuts for core musicians and more restrictive scheduling. These changes would adversely affect the ability of the part-time musicians to earn a living through other part-time jobs.

Additionally, the current proposal does not include any in-school educational performances. In past years, the musicians have done more than 200 interactive educational performances of small ensembles for students.