Libretto November 2014

Hamilton Musicians’ Guild, Local 293, CFM

LIBRETTO November 2014

President’s Report

As we head into the Christmas season it’s fitting that we take a moment to pause and reflect on the past year. Our mandate has been to increase the level of representation for our members and to promote the interests of professional musicians everywhere. If you read the AFM’s Mission Statement on page 15 you will see exactly what this union stands for and all we strive to achieve.

This year we’ve had to get the message out to the general public that professional musicians don’t play for free and we deserve the respect that all professionals expect as a matter of course. Through our efforts the public is becoming more aware of our message through the newspapers, radio, television and social media. This exposure has resulted in more people calling the office for gig referrals.

The MPTF program resulted in a good many of our members working this past summer at many of the outdoor venues with both our logos appearing prominently in the signage. With almost every one of these gigs posted on Facebook with pictures and picked up by both the AFM and CFM Facebook pages the level of exposure was very high. We’re looking forward to expanding the program next year.

Under good and welfare we’ve had three members this past year receive financial aid from the Lester Petrillo Fund. This fund benefits anyone who has become too ill to perform. It’s good to know that if a member becomes critically ill there is some help available from the AFM.

As part of our outreach initiative we have met with the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre and have gotten a commitment to use union musicians for their events and to work together to promote our common goals.

While there are still many ongoing issues that we are dealing with rest assured that we will continue to work towards achieving our goals. In the New Year we have both the Junos and the Pan-Am Games to look forward to. Both these events will mean more opportunities for our members and the city at large.

Season’s Greetings

Larry Feudo, President


Secretary-Treasurer’s Report

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a peaceful holiday season and a most fulfilling New Year.  Local 293 continues its growth in membership and since the last General Membership Meeting we have had 19 new members join the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild and another 4 former members reinstate their memberships.   Our membership currently stands at 533 members in good standing.  We feel the increase to our membership is because we are focusing on service, service, service to our members and the result of this action is that our membership has increased significantly and the office has become a hub of activity.   We have a lot on our plate at the moment but because our Executive Board works well together as a TEAM, we are becoming successful at providing good service to the members.  No one individual can operate a local effectively on his or her own. 

Are you working for free or for the exposure?

Over the past few months we have witnessed in our backyard and on the world stage, promoters and/or event organizers asking and expecting musicians to work for free at various functions.  In July 2014, the Marketing Director for the Hamilton International Airport asked for local musicians to perform for free for a “Customer Appreciation” week at the airport, then in August, 2014, the NFL Super Bowl organization was asking artists to perform at the half-time show for free and now this month, Oprah Winfrey, asked Revolva, a hula hoop performer from the Bay area, to perform in San Jose, California for free for Oprah’s “Live the Life You Want Tour” that is criss-crossing America.  More information regarding “working for free”, check out the postings on the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild Facebook page at:   ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  There is a time and a place where artists do donate their time and services for a charity or help out fellow artists or grassroots organizations but we all have to stop working for free (exposure) while others gain financially from our abilities and talents.  Only we as organized and a united voice, working together, can stop this. 

I would like to share the following :  1) a recent letter from Alan Willaert ; and 2) Molly Crabapples’ recently published 15 Rules for Creative Success in the Internet Age.

1)   The following letter, penned by Alan Willaert, AFM Vice-President from Canada, was emailed to the Director of Marketing for the Hamilton International Airport in regards to an article in the Hamilton Spectator in July, 2014 regarding musicians working for free:

On behalf of the 17,000 Canadian members and 90,000 members of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, I would like to thank you for the kind invitation for our members to be treated in a demeaning manner and utterly exploited. I am sure you went to university and graduated with at least an MBA or a degree in marketing. Maybe even have/had a substantial student loan. Many of our members have BA, Masters etc. in music, and often other disciplines as well. I am sure you have a house with mortgage payments. It should be no surprise that our members have housing costs as well. I am sure you have a family to support. So do many of our members. I am sure you are required to own a car to get to work and ferry children about. Same with our members.  I am sure you have pride in your work, and bring your “A” game every day. Same with our members.  What you DON’T have, are the costs of private lessons, enormous costs for instruments, equipment and maintenance, and the need to rehearse four (4) hours or more per day in order to maintain your skill level.  I’m also sure you have never had someone approach you to work at the airport for nothing.  You have made a huge mistake in assuming that all musicians are the equivalent of a camp-fire ukulele player at a sing-a-long. The repercussions of this will be long and loud.  If you are serious about wanting musicians to perform for passengers, I suggest you contact the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild, at (905) 525-4040. Not only do they have access to hundreds of artists of all genres, but will also tell you about the Music Performance Trust Fund. This is a programme through which some funding is available to assist in the cost of presenting musicians to the public where there is no admission. If you are interested in obtaining artists from outside the Hamilton area, you can access them through AFM Entertainment – .  In addition, feel free to contact this office at any time for more information about the Canadian Federation of Musicians.   Sincerely, Alan Willaert


Executive Board — Local 293 CFM

President   Larry Feudo
1st Vice President   Reg Denis
2nd Vice President   Steve Sobolewski
Secretary-Treasurer Brent Malseed
Sergeant at Arms   Paul Panchezak
Marshall Lorne Lozinski
Director  Janna Malseed
Director   John Balogh
Director   Ron Palangio

Emeritus Officers: Matt Kennedy, Harry Waller


Local 293 StreetBeat: Brian Griffith

On Friday November 14 the Hamilton music community was shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of guitarist Brian Griffith. He was a multiple Hamilton Music Award winner in the category of “Guitarist of the Year”.   Over the years hundreds of members of Local 293 have been privileged to share the stage or recording studio with Brian.   He was the brightest light of the second generation of Hamilton’s illustrious Washington family and from a young age he learned his craft playing with all his uncles, Jackie, Reg, Dick, Delbert and Bobby in one capacity or another.  In over 40 years he has crossed all musical boundaries with his electrifying guitar work.  In the 1970’s, aside from his jazz work with the Washington family, he was well known on the city’s coffee house circuit playing with people like vocalist Jude Johnson and Bob Burchill and Richard Keelan of the Perth County Conspiracy.  In the early days of the Festival of Friends it seemed there were years when he played with every act on all stages. In the 1980’s he was an anchor of the jazz fusion ensemble Rapid Transit with Dave King, Rob Fekete and Paul Intson.  Over time he has also worked extensively with the likes of Jesse O’Brien, Joel Guenther, Danny Lockwood, Harrison Kennedy and Lori Yates.   Of course these are a small sample of the players and acts to whom Brian lent his incredible talent.  Through his long association with world famous producer Daniel Lanois he was featured on many recordings, most notably Willie Nelson’s “Teatro” and Emmylou Harris’s “Wrecking Ball”.   Daniel, in his autobiography called Brian his “secret weapon”. Aside from Lanois projects Brian was featured on probably thousands of sessions and recordings.

Brian’s enormous talent knew no limitations or boundaries and yet that prodigious talent was exceeded by his huge heart and soul.   He had a kind word for all who crossed his path.   He was always there to offer compliments and words of encouragement to musicians of all ages and abilities.   It was obvious to those who knew him best that his world was consumed by music at all hours of the day and night.   If he didn’t have a guitar in his hands he was listening to a universe of music on his ever present IPod or Walkman headphones.  Brian was the only musician in Hamilton who could appear on Late Night With Dave Letterman on a Tuesday, take the stage of the Pontiac Superdome in front of 60,000 people with Emmylou Harris on a double bill with Bonnie Raitt on Wednesday and be back in Hamilton playing in Hess Village on Thursday and he would approach each night with the same love and passion for his craft.  His passing leaves a huge hole in the Hamilton music scene that will never be filled.

Highlights from October General Membership Meeting

Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer in New York and has recently published 15 Rules for Creative Success in the Internet Age.  I am sure many musicians and performing artists can relate to these rules especially if you have ever earned even a fraction of your living from any kind of freelancing.  Molly states in Rule #13 – “Don’t work for free for rich people”.   For all the benefactors and patronesses out there, there are still lots of wealthy people screwing over young creative types and stealing their labor.

15 Rules for Creative Success in the Internet Age

by Molly Crabapple

The number one thing that would let more independent artists exists in America is a universal basic income. The number one thing that has a possibility of happening is single payer healthcare. This is because artists are humans who need to eat and live and get medical care, and our country punishes anyone who wants to go freelance and pursue their dream by telling them they might get cancer while uninsured, and then not be able to afford to treat it.

Companies are not loyal to you. Please never believe a company has your back. They are amoral by design and will discard you at a moment’s notice. Negotiate aggressively, ask other freelancers what they’re getting paid, and don’t buy into the financial negging of some suit.

I’ve cobbled together many different streams of income, so that if the bottom falls out of one industry, I’m not ruined. My mom worked in packaging design. When computers fundamentally changed the field, she lost all her work. I learned from this.

Very often people who blow up and become famous fast already have some other sort of income, either parental money, spousal money, money saved from another job, or corporate backing behind the scenes. Other times they’ve actually been working for 10 years and no one noticed until suddenly they passed some threshold. Either way, it’s good to take a hard look- you’ll learn from studying both types of people, and it will keep you from delusional myth-making.

I’ve never had a big break. I’ve just had tiny cracks in this wall of indifference until finally the wall wasn’t there any more

Don’t be a dick. Be nice to everyone who is also not a dick, help people who don’t have the advantages you do, and never succumb to crabs in the barrel infighting.

Remember that most people who try to be artists are kind of lazy. Just by busting your ass, you’re probably good enough to put yourself forward, so why not try?

Rejection is inevitable. Let it hit you hard for a moment, feel the hurt, and then move on.

Never trust some Silicon Valley douchebag who’s flush with investors’ money, but telling creators to post on their platform for free or for potential crumbs of cash. They’re just using you to build their own thing, and they’ll discard you when they sell the company a few years later.

Be a mercenary towards people with money. Be generous and giving to good people without it.

Working for free is only worth it if it’s with fellow artists or grassroots organizations you believe in, and only if they treat you respectfully and you get creative control.

Don’t ever submit to contests where you have to do new work. They’ll just waste your time, and again, only build the profile of the judges and the sponsoring company. Do not believe their lies about “exposure”. There is so much content online that just having your work posted in some massive image gallery is not exposure at all.

Don’t work for free for rich people. Seriously. Don’t Don’t Don’t. Even if you can afford to, you’re f%&king over the labor market for other creators. Haggling hard for money is actually a beneficial act for other freelancers, because it is a fight against the race to the bottom that’s happening online.

If people love your work, treat them nice as long as they’re nice to you.

Be massively idealistic about your art, dream big, open your heart and let the blood pour forth. Be utterly cynical about the business around your art.

As members of the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild, Local 293, AFM/CFM, we have chosen to join forces to work together as a team for a common goal (see our AFM Mission Statement on page 15), and in doing so, we become stronger with a collective voice that allows us to have a greater influence in our Community, and on the Provincial, National and International stage.

Yours in solidarity,

Brent Malseed, Secretary-Treasurer


Border Crossing Documentation: Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Carnet Services

It’s the stuff of nightmares for the travelling musician: you’re headed out of the country for a big show, your precious instrument in hand, but when you get to the border, you’re gruffly told that you can’t bring your gear across – not without a bunch of hassle and some hefty fees, if at all! Performing outside of Canada can be a headache; securing work permits and negotiating with purchasers abroad isn’t always a picnic, and the last thing a musician like you needs after wading through the process is to be barred from entering your destination country with your gear.

This sort of gear-related border issue is becoming more common, unfortunately, and although veteran border-crossers know to bring a detailed manifest of all their instruments and accessories, some border agents will only accept one kind of gear documentation: the ATA carnet.

The ATA carnet is an internationally-recognized customs document that acts as a sort of passport for all your professional tools. It is the best defence against the stickiest of border officers, who are typically trained to assume that anyone entering their country with gear intends to sell it and abscond with the profits. The carnet proves that your instruments and gear are the tools of your trade, and that they will be taken back to Canada with you after your gigs.

The ATA carnet program was established in 1961 by the World Customs Organization, and is accepted in 71 countries worldwide, including the United States. Here in Canada, the carnet is issued by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. When you travel with a carnet, your goods are inspected every time you leave or enter a country and you escape the potential hassle of having to pay duties or temporary importation bonds on your professional gear. In some cases, travellers have been denied entry until a valid carnet could be produced.

Getting the carnet is not particularly difficult or time-consuming as long as you are able to provide detailed information about the instruments and gear you intend to travel with. Along with the application, certain fees are required, which are based on the total value of your tools. The Chamber of Commerce asks applicants to allow five business days for processing, but three-day or even same-day service can be had for an extra fee.  After the carnet is issued, it must be validated by Canadian customs, which can be done any time prior to your travel date or on the day you cross the border – just be sure to leave home extra early if you choose the latter option. Once you’ve got the carnet, it’s valid for a year, after which you can reapply.

You may grumble at the prospect of having to fill out yet another application in order to perform outside of Canada. You may wonder if an ATA carnet is really necessary, especially if you’ve taken your gear across borders successfully without one. Your best bet if you’re planning on travelling across the border is to call up the foreign port of entry where you intend to enter and ask them what their policy is. Different border stations have different ways of dealing with gear and goods. If the agent you speak to is not clear about their expectations, or if you’re in any doubt, obtaining a carnet is your best option to avoid disappointment. Keep in mind that the border agent you encounter when crossing may not abide by what you were told over the phone by another officer; curmudgeons may insist on a carnet regardless of what their colleague told you.

However you choose to document your gear when crossing the border, make sure you’re confident in your choice, and err on the side of caution. Doing paperwork and paying fees may be a hassle, but it’s vastly preferable to missing your gigs because your gear was barred entry, or spending hours at customs tied up in red tape. As a musician, you’ve got better things to do!

If you’re interested in obtaining an ATA carnet for future travel, visit the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Carnet Services site here for more information and the application:

The list of countries that accept the ATA carnet can be found here:

To get the contact information for U.S. ports of entry, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection site here:

In Memoriam: Harry Aylward

Life Member Harry Aylward passed away peacefully in his 94th year at St. Joseph’s Villa.  Beloved husband and soul mate of Joyce (nee Easton) for 66 years.   Harry will be sadly missed and forever remembered for his love of music and gift of  music to others.  During his overseas military service in World War II, he was a gunner in the tank corps, and the solo trumpet player for the “4” Repatriation Band, bringing joy and respite to countless soldiers stationed in Britain.was a member of many area military bands including the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, the R.H.L.I. Band, The H.M.C.S. Star band, Hindukush Grotto, and Lorne Scots Military Band. He was most proud to be handed the baton to conduct The Hamilton Frontiersman Band for several years.  Harry was a well known area musician playing nightly in the “hot spots” of Hamilton. In his last few years Harry sang in the Thursday Afternoon Singers.  Harry was a proud to be a member of the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild, Local 293, AFM/CFM.

Rest In Peace Harry


Musicians’ Rights Organization Canada (MROC) distributes Neighbouring Rights and Private Copying Royalties to musicians and vocalists, across all musical genres, in Canada and beyond.

Most musicians know that songwriters collect money from SOCAN for radio airplay of their songs, but many musicians and vocalists remain unaware that they are entitled as musicians and vocalists to performers’ royalties for the radio airplay of their recordings. Since 1998, Canadian law has recognized the performer’s performance on a sound recording. As a musician or vocalist, you are entitled to Neighbouring Rights Royalties when a recording on which you performed gets radio airplay. These royalties are completely distinct from, and in addition to, any SOCAN royalties to which you as a songwriter are entitled.

Neighbouring Rights Royalties are paid to musicians based on tariffs covering commercial radio, satellite radio, pay audio and Canada’s public broadcaster CBC/ SRC; and the use of recordings as background music in commercial/public venues. Tariffs for additional royalties are continually in the works. In Canada, royalties are also generated by a levy payable on blank audio CD-Rs sold in Canada. Distributions are based on a blend of radio airplay and album sales.

Their website provides useful information on neighbouring rights and private copying royalties and on other revenue streams available to performers. There you’ll find the forms you’ll need to get signed up. They can also mail you an information package and forms. You can contact them at: Musicians’ Rights Organization Canada (MROC),1200 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 505 Toronto, ON M3C 1H9; or 1-855-510-0279.

*This information is used by permission.


The Musicians Pension Fund of Canada

A musician walks into the Guild’s office asking about his pension. He’s anywhere from 55 to 60 something years old and he wants to know what he’s entitled to in the way of a pension. If he’s like most musicians in this situation he’s not sure about what he stands to get after years of playing.

Once we investigate what he’s entitled to the following scenario is typical: he hasn’t filed enough contracts to qualify for much of a pension or in the worst case he’s not even vested in the pension. This happens so often we felt it would be useful to shed some light on this phenomenon. DO NOT ASSUME someone has done this on your behalf! Take an interest in your future if you’re a full time musician gigging regularly and recording often. The minor annoyance of filling out paperwork when you’re young and in your prime earning years will save you from a major disappointment in your later years.

You say you work the clubs mainly and it’s not worth the aggravation of getting a bar owner to sign a contract with a pension clause? We have contracts available in the office that make it easier for the member to make pension contributions on behalf of the engager/purchaser. You will remit 15% of scale directly to the Musicians Pension Fund of Canada. It goes without saying here that this is a habit you should get into at an early age. If you’re in your 50’s or 60’s it’s too late to build a substantial pension. You can check our Local’s scales in the private members section of Local 293’s website.

At this point you might ask what is vesting or how do I become vested?

A musician becomes vested in the Fund when they have earned 24 months of vesting service without having a 6 consecutive month period with no contributions during that period.

For example, a musician does an engagement on October 28, 2014, for which a pension contribution is made on his behalf.  He will become vested on October 28, 2016 as long as he does not have a 6 consecutive calendar month period for which he has no pension contributions.  In other words after the first engagement he must have a contribution at least every six months in the 24 month period.

Most musicians vest in this way.

However, a musician can also become vested in one calendar year if they have covered earnings representing 35% or more of the YMPE (Years Maximum Pensionable Earnings). For 2014, the YMPE is $52,500; making 35% of that $18,375. If a musician had pension contributions representing at least $18,375 in covered earnings in 2014, he would become vested on January 1, 2015.  Covered earnings are scale wages on which pension contributions have been made to the Fund.

Once vested, a musician cannot become “un-vested” and, is entitled to a benefit from the Fund.

There is a lot more information about the Pension Plan and how it works on their website

If you invest in your future now the rewards will be more than worth the effort.


Nicholas Arbour
Christopher Casarin
Jared Cipak
Siobhan Deshauer
Parth Jain
Michael Kelly
Vincenzo Lapadula
Stephen Major
Darran Malcolm
Jason Lambert Meinersma
Glenn Nash
Andrew Racknor
Sam Rashid
Jeff Salem
Jeff Scarrott
Katie Steadman
Thomas Stewart
Matthew Stodolak
Stephane Tremblay

NOTE:  If you have any questions about your membership status, please contact the office.

Resigning in Good Standing

Moving out of the region?  Got a great job somewhere else?  Taking a break from the music scene?  We are sorry to lose you, but before you leave, please send us a letter or an email to let us know when you’ll be ending your membership in Local 293.  This will prevent any additional fees for both you and the Local.  We can also help you transition into another Local if you are moving.

To alleviate any confusion regarding Resigning in Good Standing, please note:

You can only resign in good standing if you are indeed in Good Standing. Good Standing means that you have paid any back dues and/or penalties before  resigning. To resign you simply write the Local (post or email) to inform the office of your intention to resign. To rejoin the Local there is a $15.00 fee.  If you have any questions, please call contact the Secretary-Treasurer.   





We are the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada

Professional musicians united through our Locals so that:

We can live and work in dignity;

Our work will be fulfilling and compensated fairly;

We will have a meaningful voice in decisions that affect us;

We will have the opportunity to develop our talents and skills;

Our collective voice and power will be realized in a democratic and progressive union;

We can oppose the forces of exploitation through our union solidarity.

We must commit to:

Treating each other with respect and dignity without regard to ethnicity, creed, sex, age,

disability, citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or national origin;

Honouring the standards and expectations we collectively set for ourselves

in pursuit of that vision, supporting and following the Bylaws that we adopt for ourselves;

Actively participating in the democratic institutions of our union.

With that unity and resolve, we must engage in direct action that demonstrates our power and determination to:

Organize unorganized musicians, extending to them the gains of unionism

while securing control over our industry sectors and labor markets;

Bargain contracts and otherwise exercise collective power to improve wages

and working conditions, expand the role of musicians in work place

decision-making, and build a stronger union;

Build political power to ensure that musicians’ voices are heard at every level of government

to create economic opportunity and foster social justice;

Provide meaningful paths for member involvement and  participation

in strong, democratic unions;

Develop highly trained and motivated leaders at every level of the union

who reflect the membership in all its diversity;

Build coalitions and act in solidarity with other organizations that share

our concern for social and economic justice.

The Hamilton Musicians’ Guild

Who are we?  Musicians Working Together

The Hamilton Musicians’ Guild was organized in the early 1900s and was granted a Charter of Affiliation within the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) and became known as the Musicians’ Protective Union, Local 293, AFM.  The Name was later changed to the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild, Local 293, AFM/CFM.  For all its activities within Canada and its Territories, all Canadian Locals to the AFM have become known as the “Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM).

First and foremost we are advocates for musicians’ rights – the right to be compensated fairly for our work and the right to be treated respectfully in the workplace.

As part of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada we negotiate collective bargaining agreements such as Theatre Agreements, Television Agreements, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Agreement etc. and set guidelines for freelance musicians.  This includes pay scales and hours of work.  Local 293 also pursues goals that enrich the musical community.  We provide work through the Music Performance Trust Fund, we hold music business seminars, provide funds for the Mohawk College music scholarships and  advocate for musicians’ rights in the public forum.

The Hamilton Musicians’ Guild is the association for professional musicians and all we stand for is expressed in our Mission Statement as printed.

Larry Feudo , President
Brent Malseed, Secretary-Treasurer
Hamilton Musicians’ Guild, Local 293, AFM/CFM


The Hamilton Musicians’ Guild welcomes the 2015 JUNO Awards to the City of Hamilton