During the mid 1950s, joining Local-77 American Federation of Musicians was a customary option for young musicians in order to obtain playing jobs within the Delaware Valley vicinity.
Being part of the AFM signified that you were able to be part of a professional group of working musicians in the Philadelphia area.
With this in mind, having a union card gave us access to Rehearsal Halls, Dining Area, Bulletin board of upcoming events to attend, and most of all: a meeting place for other musicians to congregate and share their experiences.
As a new member of Local 77, I was introduced to Charles “Chick” Musumeci who was the President of the Philadelphia branch office. On various occasions, he would spend some time with new members introducing them to the older members who were working with the Philadelphia Orchestra and other jazz musicians from the area.
It was during this time, my own personal experience as young musician, I had the opportunity to meet saxophonist Charlie Ventura plus other musicians just playing & jamming in a relaxed atmosphere, they were all enjoying each other playing solos and creating their jazz improvisations.
Since George Sarkis’ repair shop was located in the next building within a short walking distance, George would often stop-by for lunch on different days and spend time with many prominent musicians such as Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Julian Cannonball Adderley, Buddy DeFranco, Ray Hyman and others that were traveling to the city of Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, the recollections of that time are only memoirs for the both of us, plus everyone else that was lucky to experience the early years of Local 77 AFM located at 118 North 18th Street in Center City Philadelphia, PA