Making a Difference

December 4, 2018

On behalf of the officers, staff and executive board of Local 72-147, I wish you the happiest of holiday seasons. Reaching this special time of the year, we once again affirm all the hopes for goodwill that we have for life, our families and our communities. We think of those who have less than we do, and of the power of generosity and empathy in making our world better. As musicians, we regularly use our skills to help engender this holiday spirit. Just last month at our last Meet and Greet + Jam Session held in Fort Worth, I learned about some wonderful things our members do. Singer Jennifer Martin told me about a series of concerts that a she and a group of our members come together – regularly – to provide for homeless individuals. I was touched as she described to me the annual holiday concert coming up on December 20, and the effort to put together Christmas packages for the people in attendance. She told me that last year’s concert brought in about 400 people to participate in this sharing of hope and love. Another special holiday celebration comes to mind which takes place with the help of our musicians, and through the funding of Music Performance Trust Fund. Each Holiday Season the residents of the Denton State Supported Living Center, home of nearly 500 individuals with intellectual and developmental difficulties, put on a Christmas pageant accompanied by our local members. The residents of the center look forward to the production of each year (it is now more than a 30 year tradition) as it is a huge part of the way they are able experience the holiday season. It is also a tradition for our musicians who play the performances as they, too, have been brought into the joy of the event.

Of course, these are only two examples of our members and union being there for others during the holidays. But in reflecting on the meaning of the holiday season and the part in it that each of us plays (literally!), I realize that these are also the purposes we fulfill as a union – all year long! This is true when we support one another during contract negotiations to raise needed wages for – not just for ourselves – but for each other, and when we work to make our workplaces safer and more equitable. Are we not working toward something bigger than any one of us? In this issue of the DFW Musician you will find much of this. You will be asked by one of our esteemed members to consider the importance of making auditions available and fairer to our local aspiring musicians. You will read about our Meet and Greet gatherings as we reach out to different groups of people across our local – letting them know we are here as advocates for music and musicians. You will be updated about our efforts to safeguard our pension fund from insolvency to ensure its future and security in our later years and for those who come after us. You will be reminded of the lives of musicians who have reached musical achievement and made a difference through the years. You will read the story of a reconciliation of an orchestra management that has agreed to join us at the table again to work out our differences after years of alienation. And you will see the names of those who have donated to the Bill Collins Fund for the purposes of helping other musicians when health problems leave them in crisis. Honestly, this is our work all year long!

I ask now that we conspicuously dedicate ourselves to the causes that we celebrate by this very season. As we move PAST December 2018, our Union will be moving forward with many initiatives to further advance our mission. Underneath every detail is a purpose to strengthen our community, to raise living standards, to promote fairness and justice between us and those we work with. We will work to make our sacred art form more greatly valued for a more beautiful world – not just in the holidays, but in all the days. My best to you all this holiday season.