I appreciate Greg Hustis' writing in about Auditions
I appreciate Greg Hustis’ writing in. He brings up a great point in his letter. “Why should first-rate local players be passed over as subs and extras for players from other jurisdictions?” Why, indeed? Local 72-147 has always taken the position that the area’s best work, as Greg puts it, should go to the local musicians. We have been and are disturbed by the abandonment of this practice in some sections of our biggest three orchestras. We have talked with the managers and made our position known in no uncertain terms, but this continues to be a problem.
The Local’s members can be of great help here, especially the principal players of the major orchestras in the jurisdiction – the Dallas Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony, and the Dallas Opera Orchestra. They have the most say in decisions on who subs or plays extra in their sections, and I strongly urge all of them to hire members of our Local for that work. There are plenty of qualified, excellent players of every instrument in our Local’s free-lance pool. They deserve the support of their fellow union members in the biggest orchestras. The free-lance musicians have always been very supportive of our biggest orchestras in tough times, most dramatically in recent years during the FWSO strike. Those of us in the biggest orchestras can and should stand up for our free-lance members, and not pass them over for others outside our Local. If you are a section member in one of these orchestras, talk to your principals about it. If you are a principal player, put the most qualified local players at the top of your sub/extra list, and let your personnel managers and music directors know that you always want to hire local whenever possible.
We also agree with Greg that members of our Local should get a hearing when orchestras that we have agreements with hold open auditions. Orchestra committees should keep this issue in mind when negotiating their contracts, and consider drafting a clause guaranteeing a member of our Local a hearing. I would also urge all our audition committees to invite all qualified local players to their auditions when there are openings.
We also wanted to mention a couple of financial incentives for young musicians to join the Local as well. If they are under 21, they qualify for a Youth Membership, for which the initiation fees are waived, and the Annual Dues are only $99. A student over 21, as long as they have a valid current student ID, can join as a Student Member, and the initiation fees are waived in these cases as well. In our Local, this is a savings of $165.