The Musician’s Protective Association – Local 591 of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (A.F.M.) was originally chartered on May 20, 1938, covering all of the Districts of Patricia, Kenora, Thunder Bay and Rainy River (except Fort Frances and the territory westward to and including Emo). More recently the name has been changed to the Thunder Bay Musician’s Association (TBMA) and is now part of the Canadian Federation of Musicians (C.F.M.) which is still under the “umbrella” of the A.F.M.
The membership directory for 1954 listed 147 members in the former cities of Port Arthur and Fort William. Today we have approximately 225 members playing a variety of instruments either solo or with other musicians as well as members who play with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.
TBMA has provided many services to its members over the years and has established minimum performance fees. Today’s fees are quite different from those of long ago.
For example, the 1955 – 1956 Local 591 “Price List” stated:
“The price for all halls…is $8.00 for a minimum of three hours before 12 p.m. for week night Monday to Friday inclusive; Saturday night $10.00 and $1.50 per half hour or fraction before or after the three hour minimum. Leader $1.00 extra per man for 2, 3, 4 man orchestra and $5.00 extra for larger than 4.”
A past list of Executive members of TBMA include such well known musicians as Roy Coran, Charlie Clayton, Harry Siczkar and Norm Slongo to name just a few.
Besides providing contract support, pension information and other member benefits, TBMA has been involved in community outreach and support over the years. Such support has included sponsorship of Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra Masterworks concerts, contributions to a music scholarship fund at Lakehead University and fund raisers for charity. The local also administers the Music Performance Trust Fund which provided funds to pay musicians who performed at the City of Thunder Bay’s “Summer In The Parks” program for many years. The Fund is still in use today to showcase members of the Local who perform in various venues in Thunder Bay and area such as hospitals, nursing homes, etc. In addition, TBMA has sponsored a number of Musical Showcase productions in the past featuring TBMA members. The proceeds from the most recent “Showcase on Thunder Bay”, went to the Thunder Bay Blues Society to help support their programs.
Thunder Bay has produced or has been home to many excellent musicians over the years including.