Last week while I was making my regular stop to the state unemployment office, I told my councilor that I played the trumpet. He said " why don't you join the local musicians union?". (the state unemployment office is a true exercise in futility) We moved down here 15 years ago. When we lived up North I belonged to a small local. The only gigs were parades and park band and ,sometimes, big band concerts. There was up there, however, a few places where you could "sit in" - maybe play some tunes or attempt to play some jazz - I'm no Chet Baker. There even some "jam" sessions. I have always played trumpet but in order to keep the bills paid and pay my share of the food, I've worked a variety of miserable jobs, but you do what you have to do. So you understand; I have not just left Las Vegas or the LA studio scene. I've worked my day or night jobs and always tried to keep up on my horn. I haven't done, even a church gig, in 5 years. I know a bunch of "standard tunes", can read legit or big band stuff, and can fake my way through a jazz solo if I have to. About 3 years ago I played tunes while on the downtown main streets a couple of nights a week - very interesting. I was a "street musican". The area that we live in now is what I consider a cultural black hole. The local symphony just cancelled its season - it was dying a slow painful death over the past 10 years. You do not hear any horn bands in whatever night clubs/restaurants they have around. Churchs have taken to using the members of the congregation for soloists rather than hiring professionals. I don't even know of any places to sit in. About 10 years I auditioned for a agent at a gig he had. I asked to play " I Can't Get Started - the band didn't know the tune. Guess I'm dating myself. Today I sent in my application. I really don't know what to expect, if anything. I am not part of the "good ole boy" network around here. My question: what are other trumpet players doing? Please don't respond if you gig with Winton, Wayne Bergeron, or Harry Connick - you get the picture.