Category Archives: Features

AFM Local 47 Launches Lifetime Achievement Awards

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (13th District) speaks about the great value musicians give to the community at the inaugural AFM Local 47 Lifetime Achievement Awards on April 24, 2017. (Photo: Linda A. Rapka)

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Esteemed members of the Los Angeles musicians union honored at inaugural event  

LOS ANGELES, CA (APRIL 26, 2017) — More than 200 musicians gathered on the evening of April 24, 2017, to celebrate a new tradition honoring esteemed members of the Los Angeles musicians union at the inaugural American Federation of Musicians Local 47 Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Acclaimed musicians Gene Cipriano (woodwinds), Vincent DeRosa (horn), Louise DiTullio (flute), Carol Kaye (electric bass), and Dick Nash (trombone) were recognized during the ceremony, held at the AFM Local 47 Serena Kay & Earl Williams Auditorium in Hollywood, for their outstanding achievements and support of the artistic community of Los Angeles. Continue reading

Member Spotlight: Marcy A. Sudock

Musique Sur La Mer music director blends artistry with advocacy

by Linda A. Rapka

After years of watching music programs in schools dwindle town to almost nothing in her neighborhood of Long Beach, Marcy A. Sudock set out to do something about it.

Partnering with a local neighborhood youth center in 2001, she founded the Musique Sur La Mer Orchestras, a nonprofit orchestra group serving every level of musical performance starting with musicians as young as 7 years old. In an effort to build up music programs in public schools, which often limit students to one or two electives, as a contingency to join MSLM students must also be enrolled in their school’s music program. Continue reading

Musicians welcome Congresswoman Judy Chu at Political Town Hall

At our Presidents Day Town Hall the evening of Feb. 20, 2017, musicians welcomed an excellent panel to discuss healthcare, labor rights, tax credits for musicians, and arts education and funding.

Guest panelists were Congresswoman Judy Chu, RMA President Marc Sazer, ICSOM President Meredith Snow, composer/arranger and Secretary of Americans for Democratic Action Cliff Tasner, and WGA-W Political Director Corri Freedman. Members asked insightful questions about where the greatest threats would come from, and about how we could do effective advocacy.

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BlackMusic, BlackWork exhibit launches in Leimert Park

Photo: Linda A. Rapka

Leimert Park lit up the night of February 23, 2017, at the exhibition opening of BlackMusic, BlackWork.

Presented in conjunction with the Los Angeles Black Worker Center, UCLA Labor Center, the exhibit shares the dynamic history of organizing in the arts spans the founding of the Black musicians union Local 767 in the 1920s to the contemporary struggles of working musicians who understand the transformative power of art and culture.

Special guests speakers included AFM Local 47 President John Acosta, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, LA County Federation of Labor Rusty Hicks, Los Angeles Black Worker Center Co-founder Lola Smallwood Cuevas and member Andrene Scott, and Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley, Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History at UCLA. Black Worker Center member Patsy Howard served as MC. Continue reading

Big Jay McNeely: ‘King of the Honkers’ Still Going Strong

Photo: courtesy of Big Jay McNeely

Big Jay McNeely made some of the biggest waves on the 1940s R&B scene with his screaming tenor sax

As one of the titans who made tenor sax the solo instrument of choice during rock’s primordial era in the late 1940s, Big Jay McNeely could peel the paper right off the walls with his sheets of squealing, honking horn riffs. “The king of the honkers” has been wailing hard for over seven decades, and he’s still going strong. Continue reading

Remembering David Axelrod

Photo by B Plus, courtesy of Dana Axelrod

On Feb. 5, 2017, composer, arranger and producer David Axelrod, whose work has been sampled by several of the biggest names in hip hop, passed away at the age of 83

This interview with Linda A. Rapka was originally published in the May 2011 issue of the AFM Local 47 Overture newspaper.

A golden producer in the heyday of Capitol Records, David Axelrod lent his magic to hit jazz, funk and soul records of the 1960s and ’70s. He churned out a succession of gold records and top singles with artists including Lou Rawls, Cannonball Adderley and the Electric Prunes, and his signature sound is a sampling favorite of today’s hip hop artists. His keen eye for spotting unlikely successes garnered him a lasting imprint on some of the most eccentric albums of the era. Sailor-mouthed and charmingly surly, Axelrod minces no words about his improbable highs and cavernous lows during six decades in the industry. Continue reading

Los Angeles Honors Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

L.A. County Fed Executive Secretary-Treasurer Rusty Hicks, keynote speaker Bryan Stevenson, Senator Kamala Harris, Supervisor Hilda Solis, and SEIU 2015 President Laphonza Butler. (Photo: Monica Almeida, The Newspaper Guild)

On Saturday, January 14, 2017, nearly 1,000 community and labor leaders and elected officials gathered for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast hosted by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

Held at the Westin Bonaventure downtown, the event kicked off with an address by newly elected United States Senator Kamala Harris. Sen. Harris has not only been a champion for California’s working families, but she has been a leader in reducing recidivism and providing tools to re-enter back into civilian life. Continue reading

LA Jazz Society Celebrates Quincy Jones

All photos courtesy of LA Jazz Society AFM Local 47 Director Pam Gates, legendary Life Member Quincy Jones, and President John Acosta at the LA Jazz Society Jazz Tribute Awards Concert on Nov. 19, 2016.

AFM Local 47 Director Pam Gates, legendary Life Member Quincy Jones, and President John Acosta at the LA Jazz Society Jazz Tribute Awards Concert on Nov. 19, 2016. (All photos courtesy of LA Jazz Society)

Featured performers included Patti Austin, Emily Bear, the Clayton Brothers, Siedah Garrett, Justin Kauflin, Alfredo Rodriguez & more

This year’s Jazz Tribute Awards Concert presented by the Los Angeles Jazz Society was held Saturday, Nov. 19 at The Montalban Theatre in Hollywood honoring the one and only Quincy Jones with our 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Celebrating the World of Quincy Jones” saluted him for his many years of mentorship and support of young musicians, along with his multitude of musical achievements. The extensive performer list includesd Patti Austin, Emily Bear, Jeff and John Clayton, Darynn Dean, Siedah Garrett, Justin Kauflin, Alfredo Rodriguez, Hubert Laws, Rickey Minor, Greg Phillinganes, Katie Thiroux and the LA Jazz Society Big Band. Continue reading

Oakwood Brass – Outreach Project


Founded in 2009, Oakwood Brass – Outreach Project seeks to revitalize brass chamber music through lively, engaging performances of intentionally curated repertoire to attract new listeners to classical instrumentation.

This year the group presented instrument introduction concerts at Cleveland, Jackson, Longfellow, and Washington elementary schools in Pasadena, and Royal Oaks Elementary in Duarte. These programs were partially funded by the Local 47 Trust, Tournament of Roses Foundation.

Students learning to breathe in and out with control for 4, 6, 8, and 10 counts.

Students learning to breathe in and out with control for 4, 6, 8, and 10 counts.

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