Gigs to watch out for at Eastman

The other day, a friend warned me to avoid the new Facebook game, Scramble. Too addictive, he said. If you use the online social networking site Facebook, you know it contains many such delightful ways to avoid work.

But it’s useful, too.

Take the newish Facebook group, “Gigs to watch out for at Eastman!” This is an open group on the Rochester network, meaning that anyone from Rochester can join and invite others, too. Here local musicians are dishing up dirt as well as big helpings of advice.

“This is a chance for us to put warnings about bad situations, not getting paid, and anything else that we could help prevent others from experiencing,” according to the group’s administrator, Andy Barnhart.

Since June of 2008, 87 Facebook members have joined, most of them current students or recent graduates from the Eastman School of Music.

Their comments make for interesting reading.

“[A certain local impresario] promised a certain amount and then went back on it on the day of a performance,” reports one musician, “ . . . and in one situation on an overnight to gig in buffalo (sic) he tried to convince 6 people to share a hotel room to save himself money. This is a man that I personally now avoid working with completely.”

Members also warn each other about gigs involving SUNY Brockport, the Greece Symphony, and the Dansville musical.

On the other hand, Roberts Wesleyan College, the Livingston Philharmonic, and Don Messina's Orchestra get high marks for good pay and low stress, as do church musicians Pablo Bustos at the Reformation Lutheran and Lee Wright at the Downtown Presbyterian Church.

“The Rochester market is over-saturated,” complains one member. “The ratio of musicians to gigs is terrible.”

But judging by the number of concerts on the Arts and Cultural Council calendar, there seems to be enough work to go around. Musicians DO stay.

Luckily for us.