Stephanie O’Keefe was elected the first woman president in the 123-year history of American Federation of Musicians Local 47, which represents 6,000 musicians in the Los Angeles area.
O’Keefe, a professional French horn player, has performed and recorded with such artists as Lady Gaga, Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton, Diana Krall, Barry Manilow, Herbie Hancock and Daft Punk. She began playing in Las Vegas showrooms in 1977, moved to L.A. a decade later and has since performed on a host of films, TV shows, commercials and video games.
Rick Baptist was re-elected vice president, and Danita Ng-Poss, originally from Malaysia, was elected secretary-treasurer, becoming the first person of Asian descent to serve as a titled officer of the union.
Baptist joined the AFM at age 12, when he began playing trumpet professionally. He has performed on more than 1,300 film scores and more than 5,000 cartoon shows; he was first trumpet on the Academy Awards show for more than 30 years, and on the Emmy telecast for nearly that long. He has performed with such legendary singers as Sinatra, Manilow, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban and Linda Ronstadt.
Ng-Poss studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and moved to L.A. more than 15 year ago, supervising music preparation for Oscar and Emmy shows as well as many seasons of “Dancing With the Stars,” “America’s Got Talent,” concerts, games and albums for such artists as Ariana Grande, Michael Bublé and Sara Bareilles. She has been active in union organizing efforts including the 2019 #BandTogether campaign.
“I am honored to be elected president of Local 47,” O’Keefe said. “It has been a goal of mine for many, many years to be an advocate for my fellow musicians. We are the producers of one of the most valuable commodities on Earth. Music has been an integral part of every culture, in every part of the world, for thousands of years. Yet, somehow, the producers of this commodity are often undervalued, if not completely overlooked. My goal is to bring recognition to the music makers, and dignity to our profession.”
Newly elected titled officers and executive board members will be sworn in for two-year terms at the union’s Inaugural Meeting via Zoom on Jan. 11.