“What does ICSOM do for me? It’s a question often heard around the time that dues are collected. Nevertheless, it is a valid question.
ICSOM was formed as an international “union” of orchestras that would force the AFM to address our specific needs, most particularly the right to negotiate our own contracts, a union of orchestras that would advocate for the needs of the musicians it represents. It is no different now than it was forty years ago. The issues are different; its purpose is the same.
Like any democratic organization, ICSOM only functions up to the level that its constituents participate. We work in different cities with different political and economic climates. Our markets are predominantly local. We advertise locally, raise money locally and perform locally. The temptation arises to think of ones orchestra as an independent ship afloat in its own sea. But our strength at the bargaining table lies in our solidarity with one another. ICSOM is the embodiment of that solidarity. We will withstand the changes in the economic landscape better if we stand together.
ICSOM is the lifeline that connects our orchestras. It is our one formalized information exchange. It is our best way of networking and experiencing firsthand that we are one brotherhood. It is imperative that we retain that connection—not only to improve our own working conditions and livelihood, but to foster the growth of the music profession to which we have dedicated our lives.