Music: Gaffers' Band

At his first rehearsal last spring, 48-year-old Conductor Frieder Weissmann could only stand and wonder at his own youthful helplessness. His musicians were all over 60, and "everyone knew everything." The venerable violinists were all showing each other how to play—and no wonder, there were eleven ex-concertmasters in the string section. It was the same with the wise old woodwinds and the boastful brasses. After a frustrating hour, Conductor Weissmann felt like flying back to the peace of his Scranton (Pa.) Philharmonic. But when the Old Timers Orchestra of New York's American Federation of Musicians, Local 802, begged him to come...

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