Holiday Video Message from AGMA President Ned Hanlon

Published December 21, 2023   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

A Holiday Message from AGMA President

Seasons Greetings from AGMA’s National Headquarters! I am filled with gratitude as I extend my heartfelt wishes for a joyous holiday season to each and every member of AGMA. This year has been an extraordinary voyage for our union, we’ve marched - literally and metaphorically - through challenges, exhilarating highs, and the occasional rocky moment, and I am honored to share some reflections on the successes and lessons that have shaped our path.

Celebrating Successes:

2023 has been a year of achievements and triumphs for our union. Just scroll back through our social media channels or the news section of our website, or flip through our award-winning AGMAzine, and you’ll see we’re only gaining momentum. Together, we have demonstrated resilience and, most importantly, an unwavering commitment to each other. From negotiating fair contracts focused on improving compensation past pre-pandemic levels and prioritizing the safety of our members, to implementing initiatives that enhance our collective strength, each success is a testament to the solidarity, dedication, and hard work of every individual in our union.

We are particularly excited to wish a special season’s greetings to the Artists of the many companies that organized in 2023. For the Artists of Ballet Memphis, Texas Ballet Theatre, Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, and Opera Colorado, welcome to AGMA! Let this be the first of many holidays we will spend together!

Lessons Learned:

In the spirit of growth and progress, it's essential to acknowledge the lessons learned along the way. Personally speaking, this is my first-time as President of a union! My first six months as your president have been full of new experiences and learning curves, yet, almost always, it’s been characterized by pure excitement and elation.

Challenges have presented themselves, and AGMA has faced them head-on, adapting and evolving as a union. It has not always been easy, but these experiences have taught us flexibility, the power of our voices, and the importance of good management and direction… get it? Sigh. I Well… dancer, singer, and stage staff jokes aside, we’ve been reminded of the continued importance of effective communication and transparency, the power in showing up for other unions and each other when it matters most, and the need for strategic planning in our industry, which, frustratingly, can seem to evolve a bit slower than the world around us.

As we navigate the complexities of the labor-verse, we will take the lessons of 2023 into the new year, because we are learning from our experiences here at AGMA, and it only makes us stronger in the long run. The labor movement is gaining steam, and so are we.

Looking Ahead to 2024:

The coming year holds immense promise for AGMA. Our union is positioned not only to thrive and expand, but to secure an even more influential presence at tables we once only dreamed of being invited to. In 2024, we will face down union busting, bargain the best contracts we can, and welcome new artists across the country into AGMA.

Our commitment to organizing, creating better, safer, more equitable workplaces, advocating for the rights of our members, and fostering a sense of belonging within our union is at the forefront of our agenda. We cannot do this without each and every AGMA member.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment for thanks. To our dedicated Officers, Governors, Committee Chairs, Area Leaders, Caucus Facilitators, Delegates, and our hardworking Professional Staff – thank you for your commitment and efforts.

A special note of appreciation extends to every AGMA member. Whether you have been a part of the Union for years or are just joining, it is your involvement that truly defines AGMA. Your collective contributions shape and sustain the essence of our union, and for that, we are all sincerely thankful. With your continued support and active participation, we will shape a performing arts industry that empowers each member and ensures a brighter tomorrow for all Artists, even ones who haven’t been born yet.

In Closing:

In a world marked by conflict, discord, and animosity, it's natural to experience a sense of helplessness or despair. However, amidst the prevailing calls for peace and understanding, it becomes crucial for us, as leaders in the Performing Arts realm, to unwaveringly dedicate ourselves to bettering OUR space. Let us persist in our collective efforts to elevate the industry, shaping it into a source of pride and inspiration.

There is no rest for the weary but may this season be filled with joy, love, and - in between performances of the Nutcracker or Handel’s Messiah - moments of reflection and peace for you. On behalf of the AGMA Board of Governors, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season. May we enter this New Year determined to make our industries, and the world, a better place. Because that’s what Artists do.

Merry Solidarity to all, and to all, a good night!

Ned Hanlon

AGMA President