What are your musical activities? What genres of music do you play?
I play with various artists, including my guitar and harmonica duo ‘David Sinclair and Keith Bennett’, musical theatre shows, studio sessions both in studio or tracks over the internet. I play many genres, other than classical, although I have done several concerts with the VSO and Vancouver Film orchestra
When did you first become aware of benefits of VMA membership and access to the pension plan?
When I joined in the 70s there were gigs and TV shows that were only available to members. I became more aware of the pension plan when I became vested.
What is a career highlight, or your most memorable musical experiences?
Grammy awards shows (2), Letterman, Leno, Conan, Arsenio etc, concerts at Albert Hall, Radio City, Europe and asia tours
How long have you been a member and filing contracts and contributing?
since the early 70s
How much does the pension plan figure in your retirement plans?
It lets me be a bit more selective in gigs
Do you plan to stop playing, or keep playing and collect your pension?
I don’t really have any other skills, and I still love to play, so I can’t imagine quitting
How has the pension benefit made a difference in your life?
It’s so great to have a regular basic income. With the jingle, CBC and film score studio scene mostly gone away, and so many live gigs paying poorly, it’s hard to make a good living now as a self employed pro.
It is so unfortunate to hear about musicians approaching retirement who have no pension because they just didn’t get around to filing contracts for their gigs over the years. How would you encourage a young musician just starting out to understand this and to recognize that considerable benefits will come to them down the road if they make a regular habit of filing their work on AFM contracts?
Nowadays many young players don’t expect to make a living in music, and consequently work for under scale, which undermines those that do. If you can file and contribute to your pension, you will be very glad you did, it’s way better than any self directed plan I know of.