VERY IMPORTANT M.U. MEETING In LONDON - Virtual Orchestra

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by lonelyangel, Jan 17, 2004.

  1. lonelyangel

    lonelyangel Pianissimo User

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    On Monday 19 at 3pm there is a very important meeting at the Musicians Union head office in London which I advise any interested TM members to attend.
    The London production Of Les Miserables is transfering to a smaller theatre in about 10 weeks. There is a much smaller pit in the new theatre and the producers are using this as an excuse to cut the size of the band from 26 players down to just 9 musicians and a 'virtual orchestra' operator.
    This is in direct contravention of the MU agreement regarding West End shows and if it gets through could be a disaster for the thousands of musicians who depend on this work for their livelyhood.
    The loss of employment from this show alone would mean that about £500,000-00 of work per year would simply disappear! Multiply that by the 10 or 12 shows currently employing musicians and you have a massive shrinking of the music industry. A much smaller pie to be carved up between the same number of players.
    Do not make the mistake of thinking that if you are not employed in the West End this does not affect you. There is a trickle-down effect whereby all levels of the industry will suffer because there is less work to go around.

    When a guy in a show asks me to cover for him I may pass on an out-of town concert to a colleague, who may excuse himself from playing in a function band that evening and fix a guy who has to excuse himself from a jazz quartet gig in a local pub, who calls his student to cover for him, who then gives you a call and asks if you would like to fill the jazz trumpet chair in his regular rehearsal band for that evening.... which might go on to be your lucky break because you get a lift home with the pianist that you have never met before who calls you three months later to ask if you fancy taking a job on a ship cruising the mediteranean for six months this summer. Whilst on that cruise you fall in love with a beautiful croupier with long red hair who.........etc

    So , PLEASE get down to the meeting, whether you are a student, a come back player or an old pro like me - it is VERY important.

    In America the musicians on Broadway faced a similar situation - took a stand and prevailed. If anybody in TM land knows anything about this please come back and share your experience here or PM me.

    Thanks in advance, Noel.

    PS. If you are not a member of the MU, or cannot attend, or live abroad but want to express solidarity with your fellow musicians then contact me for details of E-mail address and fax number so that you can register your support for this battle against 'progress'.
     
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Noel, I'm sure you will get a reply. I remember reading about that little "set to" in NY and it seems to me that I had the website for the Musician's Union Local that was involved (sadly, lost the website). But I'm certain that some of the TM "librarians" will have saved info from that one.

    Let'em know that it also means that much less chance of someone from North America flying over to take in a long weekend's worth of shows. And "Yes! That happens more than you would think what with seat sales and all."
     
  3. lonelyangel

    lonelyangel Pianissimo User

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    Thanks Tootsall, are you in Vancouver by any chance? - it's a very beautiful city.

    Anybody who wants to take the time to support us could really help by sending an e-mail to [email protected] urging him to mount a campaign against the use of the Virtual Orchestra and supporting the Musicians union in their pledge to keep music live.

    Thanks again, Noel.
     
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I'll answer in PM, Noel. Not really the forum for chit-chat, wot? :D
     
  5. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    I can't be there, but I sent an email to the address you gave.

    Thanks for the heads up.
     
  6. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Nov 19, 2003
    Brooklyn,NY
    Here is the address-
    www.savelivebroadway.com
    This is at-www. Local802afm.org
    We are with you.
    Wilmer- Thirty years under Broadway :lol:
     
  7. MagnumLungs

    MagnumLungs New Friend

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    Nov 12, 2003
    Support

    Noel,

    Letter of support sent, I cannot go in person.

    I'm one of the guys at the bottom of the pile who gigs very occasionally, and I also enjoy live musical theatre. I do not wish to see the music denigrated in this way.

    Best wishes in the campaign
    Graham
     
  8. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    How was the meeting Noel? Any updates?
     
  9. lonelyangel

    lonelyangel Pianissimo User

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    London
    We voted unanimously to reject the introduction of the Virtual Orchestra.
    Thanks to all those that e-mailed, your names were read out at the meeting.
    The front page headline on the early editions of London's Evening Standard was, West End To Be Hit By Strike. It seems that the MU will ballot for strike action if the producers do not back down. Early signs are that we would gain the full support of the actors' union Equity who would be almost certain to strike in sympathy with the MU.
    It would be the first West End Strike in history - but some things are worth fighting for.
    I'll keep you all posted.
    Thanks, Noel.
     
  10. Kenzo

    Kenzo Pianissimo User

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    Nov 18, 2003
    Bristol, Connecticut
    Noel,

    Glad to see our friends in London are taking a stand. I was walking the "line" during the Broadway strike and the support we received from the "Ticket Buying" public was amazing. The theatre-going public really did seem to want live musicians. I hope that really is the case.

    One of the keys to our (Broadway Musician's and Local 802s) success was the support of Actor's Equity AND IATSE (stage hands). I heard (cannot confirm) that by shutting things down they were unable to work some of the "bugs" out of the VO.

    The bigger factor is the use of VO in cities other than New York and London. Touring productions that visit smaller cities and venues pose as much a threat as in NY and London. Each time producers use VO in a city like Hartford, Buffalo, Scranton, etc. it only feeds the monster and they will try to use it constantly.

    We, in New York, were able to secure orchestra minimums for a 10 year period, surely we will have another battle at the expiration of this agreement. For those who think there are "walkers" there are not any on Broadway. Every musician has a part to play. Musicians are NOT hired to just show up and sit there.

    I also believe that we must let the public know that the minimum number of musicians is, in all reality, the maximum.

    Sorry if I am on the soapbox. Not my intent. I am happy to see the actions of our colleagues in London and wish you all the best.

    Kenzo
     

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