Libretto October 2015

Hamilton Musicians Guild
Libretto October 2015

President’s Report

This past summer has flown by in a flurry of activity for Local 293.  There have been many great moments of success for the Local during the summer months and we’ll try to touch on some of them in this report. The Unity Conference was held in Windsor August 7th-the 9th and saw all the Locals across Canada meet together with the OCSM Conference (symphonic players). This annual conference was particularly rewarding for our Local as the spotlight was cast on all our achievements and the great strides we’ve made in the last three and a half years. When I took office there were only 283 members in our Local-we now stand at a twenty-two year high of 649. Kudos goes to the executive board and to Secretary-Treasurer Brent Malseed’s efforts in the office. True progress only comes with people working together towards a common goal. International Representative Allistair Elliott singled out Local 293 as the standard bearer of the AFM with our phenomenal growth and achievements. It was also gratifying to learn that AFM president Ray Hair expressed a desire to come to Hamilton and have us be part of an organizing initiative.

At this conference I served on both the Resolutions Committee and the Standards Committee which is a standing committee charged with the task of raising the bar for Locals and setting uniform levels of performance. The Resolutions Committee has the task of evaluating resolutions from the floor and assessing their merit before the assembly votes to accept or reject the resolution. 

Another component of the conference is a roundtable discussion among the delegates. The first topic was how we make the AFM more relevant to freelance musicians and the second topic was the dissolution of CBC remotes and how locals are handling the change. Through an exchange of viewpoints and ideas delegates can get different perspectives on the issues they face on a daily basis.

Two special presentations were made by the Montreal Local and the Vancouver Local outlining their specific issues with the AFM. Both Locals face situations that are too complex to go into too much detail here given the space restrictions of the Libretto. Suffice it to say they were given a polite hearing by the delegates.

One final note regarding the Canadian Conference: we are proud to announce that Local 293 will host the 2017 Canadian Conference here in Hamilton.

This summer Local 293 was able to access more funding from the MPTF and over 200 members found work in the many festivals co-funded. This included the Waterfront Trust, The Cactus Fest, It’s Your Festival, Jackson Square and both the Pam-Am Promenade and the BIA Summer Promenade in Gore Park. We also hosted MPTF Trustee Dan Beck as he came to Hamilton to see three of our bands play the Pan-Am Promenade. He got to see first-hand the positive effects of MPTF Funding for our community and was personally thanked by the heads of the Downtown BIA and the Cactus Fest.

Labour Day in Hamilton was marked by Local 293’s participation in the Hamilton and District Labour Council’s march in downtown Hamilton. It was a day of solidarity for all of Hamilton’s labour force and we’d like to thank all our members who came out and supported the event. Music was provided by the Bucket List Band and Steve Fuller-all members of Local 293.

By now most of you must know that we were able to close out a sad chapter for our Opera Hamilton musicians who finally got paid through a grant by the City of Hamilton. We are happy to say that all outstanding wages and pension contributions were paid in full to our members. Thanks goes out to Brent and Janna Malseed who along with me engaged in lobbying City Hall for the better part of a year and a half to bring about this positive outcome.  Special thanks go to councillor Tom Jackson who put forth the motion and to all our friends on city council who unanimously voted in favour of it.

We are pleased to announce the second in our Business of Music Series with a screening of the documentary Broke* followed by a panel discussion with AFM International Rep. Allistair Elliott ,Dan Beck MPTF Trustee(and executive producer of Broke*), Julia Train, MROC Senior Manager Communications/Outreach and Tim Potocic, founder of Sonic Unyon and Supercrawl promoter. This engaging documentary will be a thought provoking event and I strongly urge any members trying to get a record deal to come to this event. Please read Paul Panchezak’s article for more detail.

Lastly I’d like to touch upon the concept of solidarity and collectivism. Too often we hear of musicians complaining that the union does nothing for them and it’s not worth being a member. To them I say that when we stand together as a collective our voice is heard and we get results. To truly put it in perspective for less than fifty cents a day you become part of an organization that will go to bat for you when you need it most. To gain the most benefit from membership you must be interactive with the local-come to general meetings ask questions and find out all that your union offers and what you can bring to the mix. One final thought here to consider: while we are not a booking agency we do try to place bands with promoters when asked. That you maybe only got one job doesn’t mean we haven’t pitched you more than once. On many occasions members have been referred several times only to be deemed unsuitable for that particular event-we can only suggest an act -after that it’s up to the promoter. The key fact to take into consideration is that it’s not personal and one size doesn’t fit all, just remember that we try to spread the work out fairly. Hope to see you all at the next meeting.

Yours in solidarity,

Larry Feudo


Secretary-Treasurer’s Report

It has been a very busy spring and summer since I wrote my last report for the Libretto.  Our membership now stands at 649 members.  This is an increase of 65 new and reinstated members since the last issue of the Libretto was published.  I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all the new and reinstated members as listed in the “Membership Matters” section on page 9 of this Libretto.  Recruitment and Retention is a priority for this local and to achieve this we strive at providing quality service and advice to all members.

We received the following email in July from a musician in Arkansas:  “Hello Hamilton! While cruising around the Internet, I happened upon your website. Hamilton was one of our favorite towns to perform in. I played electric bass and guitar with a five piece group at The Grange Tavern. We called ourselves the Emcees. We were members of the local out of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Harold Kudlets was our booking agent.  Great hospitality from local folks. We also enjoyed listening to local musicians during our intermissions at, I think, the Brass Rail (?) and the Royal Connaught. This was during the early and middle 60’s. I read an article which mentioned a gentleman named Jimmy Begg. The article mentioned he was a haberdasher in addition to being a musician. I dated a girl named Jill Begg from Hamilton whose father owned/ran a clothing store in Hamilton. She had two brothers. Perhaps Jimmy Begg was kin, or one of her brothers. That would be interesting to know. I visited Hamilton a few years ago, but, unfortunately, the Grange is now a parking lot! Oh, well, we had a lot of good times there and made a lot of good Canadian friends. If any of you would like to reply, I’d welcome a return email. I’m retired now, but still pick a little bit when someone calls. I miss it. Thanks for the memories! Chris (Orville) Clift, The Emcees.”   I did contact Orville and we had a great conversation regarding the old days and informed him that there are still many musicians in Hamilton that will remember the Grange Tavern and also played there.  I asked him if he would write an article for the Libretto about his fond memories of Hamilton and the Grange Tavern.  You can read Oville’s article on page 11 “Memories of a Travelling Musician”.

Larry Feudo, Janna Malseed, Elspeth Thomson and I attended the Canadian Conference of Musicians held in Windsor as representative of Local 293.  This year’s Canadian Conference was a Unity Conference with OCSM (the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians) and proved to be very successful in the sharing of ideas and direction for the future of musicians in Canada. I will not go into details of this years conference, as Larry Feudo has touched on the conference in his report and you can read Elspeth Thomson’s OCSM Report on page 5.

You probably all know that it is easier for US musicians to come to Canada to work for short periods of time than it is for Canadian musicians to cross the U.S. border. The wait time for getting a P2 visa is currently quite long, as the U.S. office is backlogged. Make sure that you allow at least 45 days for visa processing. For those who need it, there is a type of P2 visa that covers a full year if, for example, you are making a recording in the U.S. with a number of sessions spread out over the year.

Broke* A Film About Music, is our next in a series of Business of Music Seminars for members and the general public is scheduled for October 26, 2015.  We are all very excited about this presentation and having the privilege of Executive Producer Dan Beck being part of the after film panel discussion along with AFM Representative Allistair Elliott, Tim Potocic from Sonic Unyon and Julia Train from MROC.   Alan Willaert, AFM Vice-President of Canada was to be part of the panel discussion, however, we just found out that Alan will not be able to make it as he will be in negotiations with the CBC for musicians across Canada.

For more information, check out Paul Panchezak’s article on page 8.

Labour Day

Labour Day 2015 was a special day for the members of the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild as we participated in the parade and picnic at Dundurn Park.  Since we are now affiliated with the Hamilton & District Labour Council (HDLC),  I have been appointed to the HDLC Events Committee to represent the members of Local 293.  We now have a voice at the HDLC table and as such other union affiliates now understand there is a musicians union in Hamilton and are making a conscious decision of using union musicians for their events that require entertainment.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Local 293 members who took the time to march in the parade under the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild, Local 293, AFM/CFM flag. 

One of those members was Margo Jamieson. Check out a fabulous article on “The Power of Music” written by Margo.

The Music Performance was a huge success this past summer and Dan Beck, Trustee of the MPTF was in town on July 15th to witness some of the musical events.  It was decided by the Executive Board to present Dan with an Honourary Membership to the Hamilton Musicians Guild.  A few photos have be published on page 13 of the events surrounding Dan Beck’s visit.  The November issue of the Libretto will feature more photos from other MPTF events this year.

Have you ever considered getting involved with the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild?  The Election of all officers is coming up at the November General Membership Meeting.  Nominations for all Executive Board positions will be held on October 20th.  If you would like to run for office, you will need to attend the meeting and have a nominator.  No member, who is not present, shall be eligible for nomination unless he/she has given proper sanction to stand for office, in writing, prior to the meeting.

I hope to see you at the General Membership & Nominations Meeting on October 20, 2015.

Yours in solidarity

Brent Malseed

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

By Paul Panchezak

I’ve always said that membership in the CFM is synonymous with being a “professional” musician as opposed to a hobby player who performs for tips, “the door” or free beer. In keeping with that concept the union offers services, advice and opportunities for the working, earning, career minded player. It is that group who will be the focus of Local 293’s “Business of Music” presentation for 2015. On Monday October 26 at the Spectator Auditorium in the Hamilton Spectator Building on Frid Street the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild will present an exclusive screening of “Broke* A Film About Music”. The documentary is the story of one talented individual’s experience in trying to break into the upper echelon of the 21st century music business. Written and directed by the film’s subject, singer-songwriter-performer Will Gray, we are given a first hand view of the dedication, hard work and planning it takes to overcome the many stumbling blocks and obstacles facing anyone trying seriously to make a living at playing and writing music. Well known industry faces including Kelly Clarkson, Seth Godin, John Legend, Buddy Miller and Don Was make cameo appearances in the film offering advice and opinions. “Broke*” is a wake up call for any of you sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring with that anticipated call from the “big time” with your lucky break.

In addition to the screening of the film which can be seen nowhere else at this point, the presentation on October 26 will be followed by a valuable panel discussion and question period anchored by the executive producer of “Broke*”, Dan Beck. Dan was Will Gray’s manager and a name well known among “movers and shakers” in the music industry. Dan is a 35 year veteran of the business and is considered one of the premier marketing experts and talent developers in the field. Trustee of the Music Performance Trust Fund, Dan was appointed president of V2 Records North American operations by Richard Branson. Prior to that Dan Beck spent most of his career with Sony Entertainment Group through it’s Epic label where he was Senior Vice President of Marketing. He was also a key player in the campaigns and careers of music giants such as Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam, The Clash, Moby, Sade, Luther Vandross and many others. It is a real coup for Local 293 to have Dan Beck attend our presentation in person. Rounding out the panel will be other notable music business insiders – Allistair Elliott (AFM International Representative), Julia Train (MROC Senior Manager, Communications and Outreach)  and Tim Potosic (founder of Sonic Unyon Records and the hugely successful Supercrawl. This is a night you won’t want to miss. Tickets for this event are $25 for the general public but here’s the good news – members of Local 293 and members of other AFM/CFM Locals will pay an exclusive ticket price of only $10. Contact the Local office (905-525-4040) for availability details. If you would like to take a peek at a trailer for Broke*, check it out at

Speaking of Supercrawl, it was great to see our talented Local 293 member Dave King doing double duty playing shows with Juno winners Steve Strongman and Tomi Swick. Dave’s got to be one of the hardest working guys in the Local. Aside from constant live shows with many notable artists he’s also currently promoting his latest solo project, “Hold” released under the artist name The Heavy Dream. The handsomely packaged vinyl only disc features Pat Sansone and James Haggerty of Wilco and was mastered by Sean Magee at the prestigious Abbey Road Studios in London. As if that’s not enough to keep Dave busy he also oversees activity at his Barn Window Studio in Caistor Centre.

Another Local 293 member with a new released project is singer, songwriter, guitarist and arranger Andre Bisson. His latest CD “Left With the Blues” is his sixth self produced effort. He has already toured Great Britain to promote this disc and has just returned to Hamilton where he will stage an official CD release concert at the Jet Hall (746 Barton Street east) on Saturday November 14. Check out his web page for more info.

Finally Local 293 welcomes Edgar Breau, Kevin Christoff and Mike Trebilcock, members of the ground breaking Hamilton band of the 1970’s Simply Saucer to the CFM. The group has enjoyed a major resurgence in their career in recent years with new releases and well received live performances and they are excited to be heading south of the border in the next few months with appearances in Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit as well as other US destinations.  Also joining them on tour will be musicians form Local 149 (Toronto) Colina Phillips, Glenn Milchem and Ed Roth. 

Good luck and bon voyage.

General Membership Meeting

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
7:00 p.m.
The Admiral Inn
York and Dundurn Streets, Hamilton
Nominations of all Executive Board Positions


Herb Lock Wants to Hear from You

On Sept 21 Larry Feudo and I had an unexpected visit at the office from a musical icon from the past. What a surprise it was to have Herb Lock drop by the Hamilton Musicians Guild office to say hello. I am sure many musicians will remember Herb from the old days. Herb Lock was a booking agent in the Hamilton area for many years. Coincidently, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Randy Williams and Joe Ruffo from the Reefers a couple of days before Herbs’ visit and it was Mr. Lock who booked many venues for the Reefers back in the 60’s. Herb is currently writing a book on the history of the music business in the Hamilton area.


2015 OCSM Conference Report

Report by Elspeth Thomson

Delegate, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra

On Friday August 7th at 15:00pm, the 2015 OCSM conference was called to order at The Waterfront Hotel in Windsor, Ontario. We were welcomed by Chris Borshuk, president of local 566. We were then addressed by OCSM president, Robert Fraser. He brought greetings from a firm believer of the importance of this conference. We are the “voice of Canadian professional orchestra musicians.” It is sometimes difficult to accomplish what we want to because we are all busy, but we have to remember “we are a community.” No one should feel like they are on their own.  He believes in the transformative power of our art form. He also specifically welcomed the French-Canadian delegates as it is important for them to be represented in a bilingual country. The rest of the afternoon was used for closed session Delegate Reports.

On Saturday morning we had a joint session with the Canadian Conference. We had a very interesting round table discussion on two important topics. 1 – How do we make the AFM more relevant to freelance musicians? – Let them know about the musicians’ pension – have the locals find ways to provide more gigs to their members. 2 – What direction are orchestras, independent musicians and Locals taking in response to the dissolution of CBC remotes and the changing media? – Orchestras are trying to self-produce and have remotes played on local radio stations.

After lunch we had a presentation from Bob Burns from HUB insurance. Their premiums are a little higher than some places but their coverage is much more extensive. We then heard from Alan Willaert, vice president from Canada. He gave us an in-depth report on the CBC negotiations and gave an endorsement to the HUB insurance products. Next up was a report from Ray Hair, AFM president.  His message centred on union building through collective power.  He talked about the importance of democracy and the history of the AFM.  We can’t forget the founders’ goal – “In unity there is strength”.

On Sunday morning we continued with the remaining Delegate reports including a report from the delegate of the formerly Orchestra London.  We then moved on to reports from SSD.  First up was Jay Blumenthal, the director.  He talked about some red flags to watch for in a negotiating year. When a new hall is being built be careful not to lose donations to the orchestra for the new hall.  Also, management could manufacture a dispute so they won’t have a season when there is no hall. Then he brought up the issue of training orchestras, which can happen at the expense of the professional orchestra. They are also trying to mediate on an Integrated Media Agreement on behalf of all orchestras, to get the live orchestra wage to cover media.  As he stated, playing for free undercuts our value.

   Next we heard from Bernard Leblanc. He has taken over from Mark Tetreault who felt like it was time to retire from this job.  He was well liked and respected and SSD will miss him.  Bernard will assist across Canada now as well as continuing to negotiate in Quebec.  He reiterated that media is a big area of concern in Canada as well as the States and are trying to get more information before negotiating an agreement. Lastly we heard from Steve Mosher who has come on board to assist Bernard. He talked about the issue of musicians on boards. The language he recommended as good, can be found in the CBA’s from the KW Symphony, Thunder Bay symphony and the Toronto Symphony.  There is also a new staff member, Laurence Hoffman, in New York who is working mainly with the wage charts.  She said it is important to know your CBA and these charts are a great tool to learn about the CBA’s from other orchestras. They are in the process of switching to on-line charts instead of print.

We then had reports from the other player conferences. First was Nancy, the representative from ROPA. She said that they have more representatives than ever before which can help to have new voices to advocate for their orchestras. They discussed challenges and solutions, and successes in our industry.

Next we heard from Bernard Leblanc. He has taken over from Mark Tetreault who felt like it was time to retire from this job.  He was well liked and respected and SSD will miss him.  Bernard will assist across Canada now as well as continuing to negotiate in Quebec.  He reiterated that media is a big area of concern in Canada as well as the States and are trying to get more information before negotiating an agreement. Lastly we heard from Steve Mosher who has come on board to assist Bernard. He talked about the issue of musicians on boards. The language he recommended as good, can be found in the CBA’s from the KW Symphony, Thunder Bay symphony and the Toronto Symphony.  There is also a new staff member, Laurence Hoffman, in New York who is working mainly with the wage charts.  She said it is important to know your CBA and these charts are a great tool to learn about the CBA’s from other orchestras. They are in the process of switching to on-line charts instead of print.

We then had reports from the other player conferences. First was Nancy, the representative from ROPA. She said that they have more representatives than ever before which can help to have new voices to advocate for their orchestras. They discussed challenges and solutions, and successes in our industry.

Sunday afternoon we started with reports from the Quebec Musicians’ Guild and the Vancouver local on the status of the ongoing issues with the AFM. In Quebec, they wanted to have a special partnership with the AFM as they were paying a lot in dues but didn’t have a lot of services because of the language barrier and different laws.  The guild wanted to have a separate bargaining unit that would be an affiliate to the Quebec local. There was a meeting with the IEB where there was an exchange of proposals but no agreement was reached. The Quebec members asked for a referendum on this issue where a majority voted in favour. They are presently waiting for a court date but are still hoping for a resolution. In Vancouver, the local has been reinstated by the court. They are concerned that the musicians are not getting the work from the film companies that are filming in B.C. They feel that talks with the IEB are moving in the right direction. As well the Canadian conference is forming an advisory committee to work on getting more of the film work.

Next we heard from Katherine Carleton from Orchestras Canada.  They have moved to Peterborough as that is where Katherine now lives. It has lowered overhead costs and seems to be just as efficient as most of the work is done on-line or on the phone. There are big changes happening with the Canada Council regarding their internal structuring however they say “no money will be lost” OC is working to stay on top of these changes in order to help orchestras take advantage of these changes.

Katherine talked about their five advocacy recommendations. They are asking for an increase in funding to the Canada Council from $181million to $300million, they are asking the govt. to reinvest in international diplomacy for arts and culture, they want to have the tax credit stretched, they are also asking for increased use of the child arts tax credit and recommending being able to use tickets to arts events for this tax credit, and finally they are asking for funds to be available on a more permanent basis(more consistency) for the considerable needs for Arts and Culture facilities. This would provide more incentive for good planning.

She then moved on to the issue of electronics and how it is affecting the orchestra world. They have webinars on issues related to sound and video recordings and how to take advantage of our recording assets and monetize the digital concert hall. She explained that most Canadian orchestras have not figured this out yet but pointed to Tafelmusik as an example of a model that integrates their touring with their recordings to their advantage. There is a desire to learn more about what tools are out there to help recordings play a role in getting our music out to the public while enabling us to make a living. Also what is the effect of unauthorized taping by audience members on our orchestras? Is there a way of tapping into the money being made off these posted videos? How does this play a role in the value of our social media outreach?

On Monday morning we had a very interesting presentation from Randy Watley from Cypress Media Group. He has been working with orchestras for three years and has been keeping copious notes to formulate a business plan.

What are the tools the musicians can use to get their message out – build media contacts – have a players website(tell the full story of the players) building a positive message to the public – have a Facebook page, twitter, pinterest and instagram.

He said that it is very important that the truth of your message gets out to the public. There are many ways to do this: – family and friends – retirees and subs – chorus members – other union members – other labour unions – music teachers – arts and cultural groups – houses of worship – political leaders that are supportive – former employees – senior centres.

He also does media training. It is important to have spokespeople that are good on camera or write well and can communicate emotion. When we believe in what we are doing, we need to let everyone else know.

After a break we heard from Rick Robinson from Detroit who has started an organization called the “Classical Revolution” This is all about introducing instrumental music to a new audience through chamber music. It is more about relating to a new audience, particularly ethnic young people.  He is trying to generate interest in Symphonic classical music. He feels people are thirsty for substance and value in their entertainment opportunities. We also need to learn the language of those we want to encourage to come in. We are “taking it to the people.” They are playing a variety of music in a variety of different venues. See- 

After lunch we heard from the CMA’s lawyer, Michael Wright. His talk was on “The Current Collective Bargaining Environment: The new, new, new economic reality.” Michael told us that many employers have taken the position that employees must adjust to the new economic reality. This has started to define collective bargaining not only in the symphonic sector where the approach is a need for restraint and caution. However, he states that our best defence against cuts is that we didn’t share in the “boom” therefore we should not have to absorb this cycle now. He believes that we have been less well paid than others but better educated and we need a “fair share” of the albeit small pie. He does suggest that there is reason for optimism as even senior executives have come to realize that they “risk losing the capitalist engine which brought economic success” if income inequality is not addressed.

After a break we heard from Christine Guptill and Barb Hankins on Musicians Health and the Performing Arts Clinics. They focused on two aspects of musician’s health, prevention and what to do when you are hurt. We should learn how to “play less hurt” Because up to 87% of musicians experience injury at some point in their career, we need to protect our health better. It is important to be fit. Exercise increases cardio, core strength and decreases depression, stress and tension and has an effect on our hearing. Warming up is also important, physically as well as musically. However they stressed that no stretching should be done within thirty minutes of beginning to play as it can weaken the muscles. Nutrition also plays a part in keeping us healthy. When we are hurting it is important to recognize it early and take steps to address the pain. We also need to be aware of the physiology of stress. It can increase our heart rate, and blood pressure, cause headaches and decrease our fine motor skills. There are many ways to counteract stress, for example, positive thinking, visualization, deep breathing, muscle relaxation, drink plenty of water and get lots of sleep and don’t over- practice. It is also important when injured to know who to go to and how to talk to the doctor.  Write down your questions before hand, try not to self-diagnose, bring your instrument if possible take someone you trust with you and remember to explain that you want a diagnoses, not necessarily surgery right away as many specialists are surgeons. The musician’s clinics are located in Toronto and Hamilton

On Tuesday morning we held nominations and elections of officers. Then we heard from all the committees. We had reports from the Editorial and bylaw committee, the conference committee, the finance committee, and the electronic media committee. The conference was then adjourned.   

In Solidarity, Elspeth Thomson

OCSM Delegate, HPO



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.


Opera Hamilton The Bad, The Ugly and The Good

It was not a spaghetti western but might as well have been. Verdi might have understood. Opera Hamilton hired musicians to perform Falstaff, Verdi’s very demanding and through-composed last opera. The shows were a success in the pit and appeared to have a decent house each night. These shows were performed in October of 2013.

The Bad: Without going into all the machinations, suffice it to say that the opera Hamilton orchestra was not paid fully in a timely fashion. Around December 1, 2013 Opera Hamilton issued checks for half the monies owed.

The Ugly: It turns out that the Opera Hamilton Board gave the director orders to only pay half to the musicians and pay the rest to the office staff.  The musicians in the pit were not aware of this and had no idea they were subsidizing Opera Hamilton.

The musicians, on the AFM and the Local’s advice, did file a complaint under the Employment Standards Act, which, as usual, did not yield results as the musicians were considered as independent contractors.  This process took several months, well into the next year.   Other avenues for payment were explored; filing in small claims court against the board of directors and also going to the city council.  The date is now September 2014.

The Good: Local 293, the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild did not give up or forget that musicians in their local did not get fully paid for work performed. The Local sought help and direction from legal council and the Federation.  What it finally came down to was the Local’s standing in the community.

Having had no success with Opera Hamilton board, Local 293 officials used their goodwill in the community to advance the cause of musicians for full payment.  The crux of the matter is the Hamilton Musicians Guild had made union musicians appear in a positive light through their networking and coalition building with members of the City Council. The Hamilton Musicians’ Guild made the case for payment to the Council who understood that they needed to act on behalf of the musicians. The Council then stepped up and paid the remaining monies. To note here and with thanks, Carol Kehoe of the Hamilton Philharmonic facilitated their organization to be used as paymaster for the payout.   All this would not have been possible except for the diligent efforts of the HMG. Larry Feudo, Brent Malseed and Janna Malseed took on the task from the beginning. Their long-term exercise of networking, coalition building and maintaining a high profile in the community for professional musicians paid off and is what won the day in front of the Council and the city of Hamilton.

In July of this year (2015) each of the 31 musicians from the Falstaff Orchestra received a cheque for the balance of money owed, which totaled approximately $20,000.00.  A cheque was also sent to the Musicians’ Pension Fund of Canada for pension contributions on behalf of each musician as per stipulated in the contract.   Many thanks to the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild. The Good prevailed.

John Trembath, Falstaff Orchestra musician & Proud Member of the CFM


Memories of a Travelling Musician

“Hamilton (and the Grange Tavern) were my favourite places in Canada”

by Orville (Chris) Clift

It was 1962. I was playing bass for a group called The Trebles out of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Harold Kudlets had booked us into the Peppermint West in Hollywood, California for sixteen weeks. Tom McClellan called Jerry, our guitar picker, offering Jerry a job with their group, The Emcees. Jerry said OK and Tom hired me over the phone as their bass man on Jerry’s recommendation. This was in July of that year.

The two of us flew into Fayetteville and began rehearsal immediately, as Kudlets had booked us on the East Coast in late August. We consisted of piano, drums, guitar and bass. Tom doubled on trumpet and was our front man and singer. All of us were miked for vocals on selected songs except for the piano player.

The Emcees were a versatile, sophisticated group compared with the guys I’d played with previously. They had recorded for ATCO Records in NYC (the songs never made it out of the can because of the “British Invasion”) and had been touring for three years, in Canada and across the U.S. They played a variety of numbers such as Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Conway Twitty and Ronnie Hawkins songs and show tunes, such as “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel and “Mack the Knife” from Three Penny Opera. Novelty tunes were rehearsed, such as “Alley Oop” and later, “Sweet Sidney”, recorded by Casey Anderson.  More about this later.

Our first gig together was at Virginia Beach, Virginia. We played and continued our rehearsal there for about a month. Lots of girls, beer and more girls! We loved it. We then got a call from Kudlets. Tom (our leader) advised us we were booked into the Grange Tavern in Hamilton. We were thrilled. Both Jerry and I had played in Toronto before, but Bill Carter, our drummer, hadn’t been out of Muskogee, Oklahoma and we were all looking forward to Canada (again).

We arrived in Hamilton on Sunday evening. We unpacked our gear at the Grange and set up to do our sound testing and tuning. Bill Carter was center stage under the Buddha, Leon on piano was to stage left and Jerry, Tom and I ranged from left front to right front. Most of the readers will know the setup. We then traveled to Tommy Hoen’s home out by the harbor (?) where we rented his upstairs for the duration of our stay.

The Hoens and the staff at the Grange were wonderful to us. The Emcees had a good reputation and a pretty good following and when we were in town, the Hoens made money, the tips were good for the staff and, of course, we got free (hustled, some might say) drinks. Life was good!

I mentioned versatility and sophistication. One of our strongest and most requested numbers was “Mack the Knife”. Tom, our singer, had been blessed with a wonderful voice for both range and quality. He could perform this song quite well and even got a standing O occasionally. He could then turn around and sing “Stormy Monday” with a real earthy feeling. On some songs, Jerry and I joined him for background. Leon, the piano player, did his part by donning an ape mask and swinging from the rafters out over the tables while we performed “Alley Oop”. It was always a big hit, especially when he kissed the girls and a few guys for good measure. At a later time we added a saxophone player and he brought with him a medley he called “The Rock n Roll Show”, roughly based on Ray Stevens’ hit record, which was a “hit” for us when we played it.

Bill Carter performed a song that’s probably still talked about in Hamilton. The song was “Sweet Sidney” and was originally recorded by Casey Anderson. (To fully appreciate this number, find it on You Tube). Bill was a talented man. A fine drummer and born comedian, he changed places with Tom out front while Tom used brushes for our rhythm. Although I’ll guarantee Bill was straight, he seemed to turn completely around when doing this number. He really had to be convincing to get a date… With a woman! You’d have to see him to believe it.

Part of our gig required us to do three shows upstairs in the dining room when the showroom downstairs was closing. Bill used his snare with brushes, there was already a piano and Jerry and I shared an amp. We ordered food and the waiter timed it to serve us during our break. That was some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten. Or perhaps it was because I was always hungry at midnight! Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed the upstairs.

We’ll never forget the people who came to see us and to see each other at the Grange. We entertained businessmen, birthday outings, lots of couples, singles and athletes. I remember Angie Mosca who played with the Tiger-Cats and his teammates, along with some of the Calgary Roughriders. Some of the local musicians came in from time to time and we welcomed them all. Everyone was simply super to us.

A few years ago, I came to visit some of the old haunts and discovered the Grange had been demolished and turned into a parking lot. It’s now been built on, I’m told, but I love all the memories I have of it. I even remember the harbor (out near the steel plant?) freezing to the extent that folks were skating. There was also the time my girlfriend (wonderful Hamilton girl) and I and another couple went snow sledding. Hamilton (and the Grange Tavern) were my favorite places in Canada. I hope to come again sometime.

Orville (Chris) Clift


For more about “The Emcees” check out the following links:

The Mike Ricci Trio performed with Bob Shields, guitar and Clark Johnson, bass  in Gage Park for the “It’s Your Festival” / “Hamilton Pan Am Games” event on July 9, 2015.

This concert was Co-Funded by the Music Performance Trust Fund

Mike unfortunately had an accident in September which put him in the hospital.  He required surgery on both knees and is now recuperating at the Dundurn Place Care Centre.  His recovery will be slow and he will most likely be in rehabilitation until mid-December.  If you would like to contact Mike, you can send him an email at –


Reaching Out to the Young Musicians

by Reg Denis, First Vice-President 293

On Friday May 1,2015, I attended a concert at the Hillfield-Strathallan College Virte-Fitzgerald Center for the Arts featuring HMG 293 member Martin Beaver (pictured left), a world renouned concert violinist who has enjoyed a remarkable carreer, to say the least. Martin is a recognized soloist, chamber musician and as first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet from 2002-2013. He is in demand all over the world and has created an international following across the globe. Martin has been a concerto artist with orchestras around the world including, San Francisco Symphony, National Orchestra of Belgium, Mexico City Orchestra, Portuguese Radio Orchestra and all major orchestras of Canada. He has collaborated with too many esteemed artists to mention here, so I urge you to look up his impressive online bio. I was moved and impressed with his concert, if ever get the chance to attend a Martin Beaver concert, I assure you will be wonderfully enchanted by his talent!

I also met with and spoke with Chatham native Ben Smith, who accompanied Martin and is a very impressive pianist with “scintillating technique”.  Ben is a thoughtful and immensely exciting classical pianist who has performed as a soloist and chamber musician across Canada and the USA.   Benjamin told me he is a member of the Windsor Local and as we had a short chat, I found him to be a very pleasant and warm person. He moved and impressed the audience with his great talent so please do check him out if you get the chance, he also has a long list of impressive credentials. 

I recognized 293 Life Member Glen Mallory and we enjoyed a short chat together on our way to meet the performers after the concert. Glenn shared some pleasant stories of his musical past spent with his close friend Martin Beaver, who he has known fondly for many years. Glenn is such a nice man to talk to, I have much respect for him as a musician and find him to be a wonderfully interesting gentleman, I’m so glad I bumped into  him there!

I would also like to mention that the future looks bright for HSC Arts Scholar Zoe McMillan (pictured below), percussionist with the HPO Youth Orchestra who also plays piano, sax and guitar.  Zoe became the HSC Senior Jazz Ensemble drummer at age 13 and is a founding member of the new HSC Drumline.  She wants to thanks her piano teachers, Lia Dean and Bart Nemeth, her HSC music teachers and especially her percussion teacher, Joel Haynes. She said “Playing music will continue to be a major part of her life”. Zoe is off to the Juilliard School to attend their summer percussions seminar, this July, she auditioned and was accepted along with 17 other students from around the world. The 6 piece youth jazz band named “AFTERTHOUGHT”, who play jazz/blues from all ages 1920s-present, performed during the intermission of the Martin Beaver Concert and were an added treat featuring fine young musicians including Justin Roh on trumpet, Bennett Rouleau on tenor sax, Adrian Filice on baritone sax, Michael Lewis on guitar, Lukas Bauer on bass and Zoe McMillan on drums. I wish these young people a long and bright musical future and I hope they too will go on to become members of our Guild and join the ranks of the professionals.