By SHERI GASSAWAY
Musicians’ Association of St. Louis Local 2-197 and its 700 members, many of whom haven’t worked in months because of the coronavirus pandemic, are still finding ways to give back to community through donations and the sound of music.
Most recently, Local 2-197 President Vicky Smolik said, a large group of union members from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra teamed up to adopt a family from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s annual “100 Neediest Cases” campaign.
The musicians collected well over $3,000 worth of furniture, toys, household goods, clothing and gift cards that were given to a single mother of seven children who lost her job because of the pandemic.
SPIRIT OF UNITY
“While times are hard for the musicians, we realize that others in our community need a helping hand, and we wanted to give back in the collective spirit of unity that all union members hold dear,” said St. Louis Symphony flutist Jennifer Nitchman, who spearheaded the effort.
Other groups of musicians, including the Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis, the St. Louis Theater Musicians’ Orchestra and several freelancers, have put on free outdoor concerts for the public, Smolik said.
PEOPLE NEED, APPRECIATE LIVE MUSIC
“Some of the performances were large like the Symphony Reboot in St. Charles by the Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis, featuring famous opera singer Christine Brewer, and others were small and took place in backyards or driveways,” Smolik said. “No matter the size, they show how much people need and appreciate live music.”
Smolik added that the Local 2-197 board donated to the United Way and the St. Louis Labor Council’s $5 for the Fight fund this year. Both organizations help union members in need.
ABOUT LOCAL 2-197
Local 2-197 has been serving the St. Louis area musicians since 1862 and continues to be an effective advocate for musicians’ rights in the workplace. For more information, visit masl2197.org.