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CFMA Local 389Central FL Musicians' Association
CFMA Local 389Central FL Musicians' Association
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President's Report (Fourth Quarter 2021)

Jan 6, 2022

Seasons Greetings Members!

What a difference a year makes! While life has yet to “return to normal” for most of us, the seasonal hustle-and-bustle of December 2021 far exceeds that of 2020, providing a brighter outlook moving forward! Are there things to be concerned about? Sure, but let’s focus on the positive, as there are some very encouraging happenings among our musician community, which hopefully serve as a barometer for 2022. Among those happenings are the return of the Walt Disney World Candlelight Orchestra, the growing stability of the Orlando Phil, the return of Broadway shows at the arts center, and the increased frequency of local gig work.

Granted, the aforementioned “happenings” have plenty of room for improvement. However, if you think back to December of last year, you may recall the level of uncertainty surrounding all of the above. Here is an update on each:

Outlook 2022

First we’ll take a look at Walt Disney world. The Company has already announced the return of Disney on Broadway to the American Gardens Stage, providing work for several of our musicians for the month of January. And convention work is on the rise. But perhaps the most encouraging news is that at every level of WDW Management, the desire is to return the talent that we lost one year ago (we’re at around 60%). This is no guarantee that every act will return, but it is far more encouraging to be receiving news that is hopeful, as opposed to bleak. In any case, time will tell. The Orlando Philharmonic (OPO), under the leadership of Executive Director Paul Helfrich, and the collaborative efforts of the OPO Orchestra Committee, is poised for a good year. To quote Paul:

“The Orlando Philharmonic is optimistic about 2022. We’re excited about the possibilities of Steinmetz Hall and glad to be doing concerts there after multiple delays. As COVID abates, we want to forge new partnerships and get the orchestra playing in front of more people. It’s time to take the next step, and we look forward in the New Year to growth and great music.”

On the Broadway front, as mentioned, the news could not be better then the reality that the shows are returning to Orlando at their normal (pre-covid) frequency. So this is at least one area where things actually appear to be “back to normal.”

In an attempt to gage the future for our in-town gig workers, we asked you (our members) in an email blast recently, to look back at 2021 and share some musical highlights—which can also be found in the News section of this website. Of course the results were reflective of a better 2021 (compared to 2020), which likely translates to an even better new year. Thank you to those who took the time to respond!

Financial status update

The financial losses endured by our members during the pandemic translated to losses for our Local’s operation as well. As of late 2020, we were projected to be short tens of thousands of dollars for operations in 2021, and, if nothing changed, the shortfall would continue through summer of 2022.

As you know, in an effort to maintain the type of operation we have at Local 389, consisting of a full-time, on-call president, a full-time administrative assistant and a part-time secretary treasurer, the membership voted to sell the vacant lots behind our rehearsal facility, which we have owned since the 1960’s.

In summer of this year, we took other measures to slow the bleeding as well, with Local 389 Board Members voluntarily rejecting their pay, and the President voluntarily taking a 20% pay cut. The hope was that things would recover enough to not have to completely change how we do business, which included the very real possibility of losing our full-time staff.

The good news is we are ahead of this plan by approximately $60K as a result of better than anticipated work returning! The not so good news is, we are still far from where we need to be.

Having said that, the $60K in improvements on our projection, gets us through 2022 without having to change our mode of operation. The Board and I will stay on top of this, reevaluating as we go.

In your service,

Mike

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