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Home » Organizing » Update on OCSM’s 44th Annual Conference

Update on OCSM’s 44th Annual Conference


by Robert Fraser, OCSM President and Member of Local 247 (Victoria, BC)

Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

It’s that time of year again: as I write this, I’m looking ahead to all the conferences I will attend on behalf of the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM), and this year is a busy one. In addition to our own conference, which will be held from August 12-16 in Hamilton, ON (more information on our social media pages and at, I, or one of our executive board members, attend each of the other symphonic player conferences, the Theatre Musicians’ Association conference, the annual national meeting of Orchestras Canada, the AFM Canadian Conference, and this year, the AFM Convention, which will have already taken place by the time you read this. In the past, we have also participated in every International Orchestra Conference convened by the International Federation of Musicians (FIM). This summer will mark 20 years since I attended my first OCSM Conference and, since then, I have been privileged to be part of a truly worldwide network of musicians.

As I’ve reported many times on these pages, each of these conferences gives us an overview of our part of the industry: reports from delegates, union officers, and staff; pension fund; and other industry partners. We are fortunate to have experts in every part of our field address us: labour lawyers, communications professionals, and even government representatives. We try to work in as much of a local angle with our host city as possible. Hamilton happens to be the birthplace of music/performing arts medicine in Canada, with the establishment of the Musicians’ Clinics of Canada there in 1985, so we are inviting Dr. John Chong, its founder, to address us. We will also be making a field visit to LIVELab on the McMaster University campus, a facility devoted to “developing a world class facility for the scientific study of music, sound, and movement and their importance in human development and human health.” (

I know I write this almost every time I’m given the opportunity, but there is a good reason why we’re called “player conferences”: because everything we do is driven by players—our membership of working orchestral musicians. That includes your successes as well as your challenges. If you’ve had a particularly good outreach program, or a successful fundraising campaign that made good use of musicians, we want to hear about it through your delegate. If something in your collective agreement went totally wrong, we want to help you rectify it. We exist so that no orchestra, no committee, and no individual musician need be in complete isolation. We are all part of a greater community and, to that extent, we are all activists in our own way.

As always, I look forward to meeting more activists throughout these summer months, and I hope in the middle of that you can all find some well-deserved time to rest.

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