The Year Leading up to
TMA’s 20
th Anniversary Conference

by Tom Mendel, TMA President and Member of AFM Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL)

TMA has been quite busy in the past year. I can think no better way to demonstrate this than by describing what our Executive Board and Committees have been up to. These aspects include:

Restructuring and Updating our Bylaws

            Our Executive Board asked our Legislative Committee (Chaired by Vice President Walter Usiatynski) to review our Bylaws and make recommendations. Our Parliamentarian, Paul Castillo, (also on the Legislative Committee) felt that our Bylaws were due for a restructure after many years of amendments. Paul and Walter led the charge with the committee. They submitted an amazing document. The Executive Board approved it and the restructure was passed unanimously at our 2014 Conference. (I feel this document is truly a work of art similar to a great composition or solo).

National and Chapter Officer Assistance and Training

            As with any organization, it is very important to have materials that assist and train its current and future officers. Our Board has realized and is focusing on this. Among the aids, we have developed:

TMA Officers Toolbox – This is now up in a password-protected section of our Website.  It is available to not only our TMA Executive Board, but also to all Chapter officers as well. It includes:

> TMA Executive Board Policy & Recommendations Handbook – This handbook was designed to house all policies and recommendations that have been passed by the TMA Executive Board from its inception to date and will be updated whenever a new policy or recommendation is passed by our Executive Board.

> Power Point example for Chapter Reports (at TMA Conference)  

> Power Point example for TMA Academic Presentations

> The TMA Recruitment Letter (soon to be included in the Membership Recruitment Handbook)

We are considering making video training tools soon and have recently formed the TMA Officers and Members Video Training Committee.

Expanding and assisting our membership

Chapter & Membership Recruitment Committee – TMA has added 4 new Chapters in the past 4 years. This Committee is charged with identifying and assisting the formation of future chapters. 

TMA is a voluntary organization and we are working hard toward growing our membership.  Even in AFM locals where we do not currently have a chapter, TMA has begun publishing articles in local AFM newsletters. This helps us to increase our profile beyond our membership, and share our successes and challenges with the wider musician community. If you are a theater musician or a local officer that has theater work in his/her jurisdiction, please consider checking us out our website at: and our Facebook page: Theatre Musicians Association – TMA

• Membership-at-Large Organizing Committee - All TMA members have direct representation with the exception of the members-at-large. This is because they have no internal chapter structure with which to hold elections. TMA is currently in the process of assisting these members in electing a Director and would encourage them to form a chapter, should they so choose.

• Our Marketing and PR Committee is working towards increasing our awareness.  • Facebook – We update this page regularly with interesting articles and photos. We hope you’ll check out our page: ‘Theatre Musicians Association – TMA’ and ‘Like’ us.

We’ve also put up a page for our traveling musicians called the TMA Travelers’ Forum. It is a closed Facebook page for traveling musicians only. This format enables them to talk freely among themselves and discuss such things as lodging, great restaurants, etc.

• Our Future of TMA Committee – purpose is to establish a vision for TMA going forward.

• Our Theatrical Orchestrations Committee – TMA has been an advocate to keep original orchestrations available for theaters that would like to produce shows with them. This committee was recently formed to research, explore and make recommendations to our Executive Board regarding current practices and trends with respect to theatrical orchestration editions that are made available for rental.

• Our Pamphlet B Committee is already interviewing traveling musicians and preparing for the upcoming negotiations. The current contract expires March of 2016.

 Assisting AFM as well as TMA Officers

 TMA’s Theatre Contract Data Repository became ‘active’ on our TMA Website last year. It is a collection of data formatted to compare important aspects of Theater CBA’s from many locals in the AFM. We feel that this is an invaluable tool to be used in preparation for contract negotiations. In addition to TMA officers, it is also available to AFM officers.

We encourage all AFM locals with CBA’s for theaters to send their contract info to our TMA Secretary-Treasurer, Mark Pinto. He will continually update the Theatre Contract Data Repository as new contracts come in.


As with last year, we are making a concerted effort to attend all AFM Conferences this year (including all local and Player).

 Speaking of conferences, TMA will be having its 20th Annual Conference this year. It will be held in San Francisco August 17-18. Among the guest speakers for this historic event will be members of the original Steering Committee that helped form our organization. Full details for our conference will be released in our Pit Bulletin and on our TMA website. We hope you’ll consider attending!