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"What's in a Name?"

By Paul Austin - GRS Horn


Last month POMA-GR became The Grand Rapids Symphony Musicians Association, or GRSMA. For many, this has raised two important questions, namely, what is this group and how is it different from the Grand Rapids Symphony?


GRSMA is an organization comprised of the highly trained music professionals from the Grand Rapids Symphony. We also are members of the Grand Rapids chapter of the American Federation of Musicians (Local 56).


As with many U.S. orchestras, the musicians have their own organization which supports their symphony yet operates as a separate entity. For example, GRSMA members have teamed with other area non-profit organizations such as the Humane Society of West Michigan and the Heart of West Michigan United Way to assist these valuable organizations that serve our community.


The musicians have committees which work hand-in-hand with Grand Rapids Symphony leadership in many ways, including helping make artistic decisions, abiding by the labor contract negotiated by and agreed upon by both parties, and choosing the next Music Director of the GRS.


Simply put, the GRSMA is an independent players’ association that allows the musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony to operate separately of the GRS as their own organization. For many years the group operated as the Professional Orchestra Musicians Association, then added on the words "Grand Rapids", and now finally have settled on a name which clearly states its membership: The Grand Rapids Symphony Musicians Association.

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