Article by Charlie Gray

He was known as Doctor Music — or, around the Toronto music scene, “Doc.” In print, he was Doug Riley.

Photo credit: Don Vickery

Born in 1945 and raised in Toronto, having played the piano since the age of three, Doc graduated in music at the University of Toronto and studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music, then went on to do postgraduate work on the music of the Iroquois.

In his teens he played with the Silhouettes, a Toronto R&B band. In a 2006 interview with The Toronto Star, he said, “Ray Charles was my first influence, outside the boogie-woogie and stride pianists like Albert Ammons and Fats Waller.” In 1969, Doc was the arranger and keyboardist on Ray Charles’ album, Doing His Thing, on which Ray played organ, Doug played piano — and vice versa. Doug told me that when he was first called by Ray Charles to arrange and play on the album, he hung up the telephone — twice! The third call was from Rays manager who convinced Doc that the call was legitimate and not a friend playing a prank. He took the gig.

When Doc arrived at the airport, he was picked up by Ray and his chauffeur. They drove some distance, and arrived at a long driveway leading to Ray’s mansion. Abruptly, the chauffeur put on the brakes, got out of the car, and walked away. Ray Charles then took the wheel and drove the rest of the way. It was a favourite joke they enjoyed playing on new arrivals!

Doc was Music Director for Famous People Players for 20 years. During the same period he participated as arranger and musician on over 300 albums, in genres that went all over the map, and wrote hundreds of Jingles. Doug worked in or on productions with the Brecker Brothers, Measha Bruggergosman and Placido Domingo (arranging None But The Lonely Heart). He wrote three ballets for the National Ballet of Canada, scored six feature films, and played piano or organ with and/or arranged for Anne Murray, Jackie Richardson, John Roby, Danny B, Phil Dwyer, Bruce Cassidy, PJ Perry, Guido Basso, Bob Seger, Ringo Starr, Dione Taylor, David Clayton-Thomas, Tyler Yarema, Dianne Brooks, Motherlode, Gordon Lightfoot, Moe Koffman, Sonny Greenwich; he also recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. Doug received Member, Order of Canada in 2003, also in 2003 Doug Riley and Guido Basso recorded a duo album A Lazy Afternoon.

From Guido Basso: “Doug Riley was a musical genius. His knowledge and ability encompassed a diverse range of musical genres from classical, ballet and opera to jazz, R&B and honky tonk. He was a brilliant composer, arranger, conductor and an inspired musician who could bring out the best in any kind of keyboard, from piano, to church or Hammond organ… and in any musician who worked with him. He was respected worldwide and his easygoing warm nature and ‘light up a room’ smiles are still sorely missed and fondly remembered by any who were fortunate enough to call him their friend.”

Through the 1970s, he founded and toured with the progressive jazz/rock band Dr. Music, which had Canadian hits. With Doc at its core, they recorded two albums: Bedtime Story and Sun Goes By. Other Riley albums include Dreams, From Canada With Love from 1976, and Freedom from 1990.

From Bruce Cassidy – member of Dr. Music: “Doug’s musical accomplishments are legendary, but his prowess was built on an insight into the building blocks of music and a love of life. His range of musical expression ran the gamut: from the raucous to the sublime, from the basic to the experimental. I enjoyed his respect as did everyone else who worked with him. I was floored by the care he took in the people he loved. Apart from the Dr Music incarnations, we played in each other’s jazz quartets and shared a fascination with the mystery of music making, musical curiosities and little known composers. I modelled my way with musicians after his… I miss you Doc.” Doc spent his last years composing at his home on Prince Edward Island and playing Festivals. Douglas Brian Riley died on August 27, 2007, while returning home from being a featured performer at the Calgary Blues Festival.

by Lenny Solomon

My earliest memories of my fantastically talented sister Maribeth Solomon are of her playing Mozart impeccably on the piano. She was five.

Soon, Kiwanis Awards started collecting on the table by her piano and it wasn’t long before Chopin started wafting through the house. In her high school years she developed an ear for pop music, literally playing back any tune on the radio after one hearing. She was a great hit at parties! She also played the flute brilliantly. Our dad, Stanley Solomon, former TSO principal violist, gave her early insight on what it takes to be a professional musician.

Her talent, personality and wit kicked off her career with a number of touring groups while she was also a regular host on the CBC radio show ‘ 9:15 Alarm Clock ‘ co-hosted by the late Alan Thicke. This show is where she met and later married her musical partner Micky Erbe, also a fantastically talented writer, orchestrator and musician. Their company, Mickymar Productions became well known internationally for their wonderful music for TV and Film — and of interest — the many IMAX movie scores they wrote were produced by Maribeth’s great friend, the late pioneer Toni Myers.

Also a gifted songwriter, Maribeth has been recorded by Anne Murray among others and written songs for Babar and Care Bears animated movies.

I’m fortunate to have witnessed Maribeth in action; in the writing room, business office and recording studio where I contracted for her. Maribeth’s creative energy abounds. Anyone who has met her would agree that she is a delightful force to be reckoned with.

Together, Maribeth and Micky have written and produced in a wide range of styles including many large orchestral recording sessions. Nothing makes her happier than having the opportunity to hire the hundreds of Local 149 musicians over the years as she has. (Brian Barlow, former President of the TMA has been a stalwart since the beginning, as has Brent Barkman along with many other fine players.)

Here is a small sample of some shows she has scored:

Earth: Final Conflict (Emmy Nominated, Gemini Award), Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy, Street Legal, Side Effects, Adderly, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Struggle for Democracy, E.N.G. The pair has won four Gemini awards and many other nominations. IMAX films include: Hubble 3D, Under the Sea, Space Station 3D, Blue Planet, The Dream is Alive, Destiny in Space and Imax’s first doc North of Superior.

Maribeth has just recently completed all six seasons of music and the theme for the multi-Emmy Award winning CBC Netflix TV show Schitt’s Creek. Working with Brent Barkman and Micky she’s composed music for several games as well. Maribeth has always lived in Toronto and is a passionate and outspoken member of local 149 setting a formidable example to follow — a trendsetting musician, writer/ composer, business-woman and producer. I know her husband Robert Schwartz, daughter (and fine songwriter) Leah Erbe, dog Teddy and brother, yours truly, are very proud of Maribeth for this well-deserved recognition.

The Toronto Musicians’ Association is proud to honour member Maribeth Solomon with the 2019 Musician of the Year Award. She has been a member of the Toronto Musicians’ Association since she was a teenager and we are delighted to acknowledge her musicianship and contribution to the Toronto music scene by naming Maribeth Solomon 2019 Musician of the Year.

Seeking Canada Recovery Benefit Clarification

Members have been reporting the following issues regarding the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB):

  1. For those that continue to earn some income, the requirement in any two week period that  “you worked and earned net income, but no more than 50% of your average two-week net income in 2019”.  Those that had low net income in 2019 are disadvantaged in the program and are limited in the earnings they can make while still qualifying.To address this issue, TMA149:
    • Has solicited examples from the membership to share with the Federal Government through our Federation.
    • Has asked the government, through our Federation, to consider the impact of such measures on the lowest earning individuals.
    • Continues to be involved in discussions about a Universal Basic Income in the arts.
  2. Members are concerned that they will have to prove loss of work to be eligible.To address this issue TMA149:
    • Has asked the Federal Government, through our Federation whether cancelled contracts and cancellations at any point in the pandemic will be sufficient.
    • Is still making available the lost work form on the member side of the TMA149 website to help members keep track of lost work.  Lost Work entries will be saved as part of your profile.
  3. Members are concerned that they are required to look for work in other fields while receiving the CRB.
    To address this issue TMA149:

    • Has offered the Federal Government, through our Federation examples of how musicians find work, and clarified how unlikely the Government of Canada Job Board is as a source for jobs for musicians.  We have proposed that evidence provided by a musician that they have inquired about jobs with leaders, contractors, engagers and / or looked on musicians’ job boards is sufficient for the purposes of proof of looking for work.

Making Sense of Reopening Rules

The Province of Ontario released its new “COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open” on November 3, 2020 and it has been revised multiple times since that date.  Under the current version of the framework most of our local is scheduled to enter ‘Control (Red)’ classification by November 16, 2020.  In addition the Chief Medical Officers of the City of Toronto and the Region of Peel have made additional orders making the rules in those areas even more restrictive.

Here is a summary of the regions in our local and the level of restrictions as at November 16, 2020:

Protect (strengthened measures) – yellow:

  • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

Restrict (intermediate measures) – orange

  • Durham Region Health Department

Control (stringent measures) – red

  • York Region Public Health
  • Peel Regional Health Unit – with additional gathering, dining and closure restrictions
  • Toronto Public Health – with additional gathering, dining and closure restrictions

Further, TMA149 understands the following as it pertains to our membership, for all levels other than lockdown, including the additional measures in Peel and the City of Toronto:

  • Recording studios, concert venues, theatres and cinemas, as well as other spaces, can open for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, sound recording, film/television scoring, recorded artistic event or recorded theatrical performance provided that no spectators/audiences are present, and performers maintain physical distancing (with limited exceptions). In addition, when in Control (Red) status singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from other performers by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
  • For all other restrictions please review the new framework, the additional restrictions in Peel Region, and the additional restrictions in the City of Toronto.
  • Unfortunately the $300 million announced for businesses affected by restrictions requires that applicants had a CRA Payroll account on March 15, 2020 and therefore will not be suitable for many members.  TMA149 is reminding government that by-and-large they have left musicians out of this form of support.

Advocacy Update

TMA149 and the Federation continue to advocate for musicians in the following areas:

  • Advocacy that musicians are included in a fair and transparent reopening plan at the Province of Ontario and the municipalities and regions in our local.
  • That musicians fairly benefit through increased public investment in the arts & culture sector and through legislative changes at the Federal and Provincial level.

Proposed 2021 Covid-19 Dues and Related Relief

In response to the acute negative economic situation faced by TMA149 membership the TMA149 Board of Directors is proposing a number of dues and related relief amendments to the TMA149 By-Laws.  The proposed relief includes a reduction in discounted annual dues from $235 per year to $196 per year, and a number of other measures including the suspension of expelled status for as long as allowed for by our Federation. The proposals will be heard at the December general meeting, require approval of the members at that meeting, which all can attend, and require approval of our Federation’s International Executive Board.

Respectful Workplaces in the Arts Workshops

TMA149 is partnering with Cultural Human Resources Council to bring our members workshops on maintaining respectful workplaces in the arts.  The Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) project, Respectful Workplaces in the Arts, addresses harassment in the workplace, including sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination and violence. As a part of this initiative, this workshop will ensure that artists and arts organizations across Canada have the tools, resources and training to prevent harassment of any kind, and build respectful workplaces as the norm in the cultural sector.
For musicians identifying as Female and Non-Binary:

When: Nov 27, 2020 12:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this workshop:
For musicians of all identities:

When: Dec 1, 2020 12:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this workshop:


Learn About Ontario Second Career Grants

You can get new skills – those needed for jobs in demand now – and financial support when you qualify for Second Career.

Apply for up to $28,000 for costs including:

  • tuition
  • books
  • manuals, workbooks or other instructional costs
  • transportation
  • basic living allowance (maximum $410 per week)
  • child care

Attend an upcoming free information session provided by George Brown College.

Ontario Together – Provincial Portal for PPE, Covid-19 Mitigation Ideas and Related Funding

The Province of Ontario has set up a portal to help businesses supply and source PPE, as well as receive ideas and proposals on how to mitigate Covid-19 while reopening the province.  There is $50 million in funding available for approved projects through the portal, and the province announced $300 million in support for businesses affected by the re-entry into Phase 2 in certain regions, including our region, of the province.  Additional details on how to apply for the $300 million announced are pending.

Ontario’s Community Building Fund

The Province is investing $100 million over two years to develop a Community Building Fund that supports community tourism, cultural and sport organizations, which are experiencing significant financial pressures due to the pandemic. These organizations support community engagement, tourism and recreation through a variety of attractions, experiences, events and activities. Funding support would be available to not-for-profit organizations and municipalities, and the program will be delivered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) with two streams:

  • Supports for local community tourism, heritage and culture not-for-profits, such as community museums, local theatres, fairs and cultural institutions, to help sustain their operations in the short term and create new attractions, experiences and events; and
  • Funding for municipalities and not-for-profit sport and recreation organizations to make investments in infrastructure rehabilitation and renovation, in order to meet public health protocols and local community needs.

Assisting Ontario’s Arts Institutions

The government is providing one-time emergency funding of $25 million for Ontario’s arts institutions to help cover operating losses incurred as a result of COVID-19. This funding will help these organizations remain solvent and prepare for a time when they can fully re-open their facilities, resume full programming and welcome back their visitors and audiences.

Reconnect Festival and Event Program 2020-2021 and Funding Reminder

The Province of Ontario announced the Reconnect Festival and Event Program to:

  • provide experiences that encourage people to travel locally and rediscover the beauty and diversity of their community
  • draw attendees and provide positive economic impact for the local community, the region and the province
  • create job opportunities for Ontarians, particularly in the tourism, culture and entertainment sectors
  • increase Ontario’s profile through media and/or broadcast exposure to generate interest in future travel to the province once it is safe to do so again

Remember that this program is additional to special and regular funding at Canada Council for the ArtsFACTOROntario Arts CouncilOntario Music Investment FundOntario Trillium Foundation and Toronto Arts Council.

Mental Health Supports

TMA149 wishes to remind our members of the mental health supports:

  • TMA149 Benevolent Funds – members who have mental health diagnosis may apply for support to the TMA149 Health Benefit and Member Assistance Fund, as well as the Federation’s Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians. Log into the member side of the TMA149 website to find out more an access application materials.
  • Unison Benevolent Fund Counselling & Health Solutions – The Unison Benevolent Fund offers a toll-free number to connect Canadian music professionals with resources and support for personal and practical issues. This service is free, anonymous, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Before you make the call, please register with Unison. 1-855-986-4766.
  • ConnexOntario – ConnexOntario provides service information for people experiencing problems with gambling, drugs, alcohol, or mental health. Helpful, supportive system navigation specialists answer all calls, emails or web chat requests 24/7. Connex Ontario referral service is free and confidential. 1-866-531-2600 or Chat or Email.


P2 Visa Fee Changes

Back in April our Federation joined with partners across the United States to call for the relaxation of visa rules and fees to support response to and recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic.  USCIS ignored this call and doubled down.  Currently the P2 Visa regular processing fee is $460 USD.  Beginning October 1, 2020 the processing fee was scheduled to increase to $695 USD.  As already reported by our Federation, due to the political action of immigration advocates in the state of California, the P2 Visa increase and various other changes to immigration into the United States have been put on pause pending legal action.

USCIS after receiving this decision did quickly move to increase premium processing fees.

We will keep you updated and our Federation has put together a committee to formulate an ask of both the Canadian and US governments to relieve the burden of border crossing fees and wait times.  TMA149 Executive Director Michael Murray is a member of this committee chaired by Federation  Vice-President from Canada Alan Willaert, and including Canadian Office Executive Director Liana White, Local 547 Calgary Secretary-Treasurer Doug Kuss and Local 161-710 Washington DC President Ed Malaga.

TMA149 and CFM Office

Our office is remaining physically closed for the time being and we are working from home.  Although we are still accepting phone calls, mail and courier delivery, we ask that you access services by email whenever possible. Those working please continue to send contracts, reports, dues and pension contributions electronically, by mail or by courier.  Please note the Canadian Office of the Federation is open for electronic services and accepting P2 applications by mail.

Covid-19 Update Archive

All Covid-19 Updates and other Covid-19 resources may be found here:

Always feel free to reach out to TMA149 Board or office staff with specific requests including regular business inquiries.

In Solidarity


For musicians identifying as Female and Non-Binary:

When: Nov 27, 2020 12:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:

For musicians of all identities:

When: Dec 1, 2020 12:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:

The following proposed by-law amendments and motions aim to provide relief for TMA149 members from the continued financial, social, physical and mental burden of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the related public gathering restrictions.  The proposals are pending membership approval at the December general meeting and approval by the Federation International Executive Board.

2021 Covid-19 Motion 1 of 6 – Dues Relief and Restructure

2021 Covid-19 Motion 2 of 6 – Expelled Status Relief

2021 Covid-19 Motion 3 of 6 –Reinstatement Relief

2021 Covid-19 Motion 4 of 6 –Work Dues Relief for Music Lessons

2021 Covid-19 Motion 1 of 6 – Dues Relief and Restructure

WHEREAS TMA members have suffered a great loss of income and wellbeing from the Covid-19 Pandemic and the associated public gathering restrictions;

AND WHEREAS the TMA Board of Directors wishes to grant members relief of regular dues for 2021 as members respond to, and recover from, the pandemic and its effects;

AND WHEREAS the Federation has not signalled any plans to lower the per capita tax of $16.50 per quarter per member owing from TMA to the Federation, regardless of the dues charged by TMA to its members;

AND WHEREAS TMA members wish to ensure the TMA remains properly funded and fiscally sound for the long recovery ahead;

AND WHEREAS it is believed that TMA will achieve more long-term member engagement from a discount for paying four or more quarters, or signing up for pre-authorized payment, at any time of the year, versus an early calendar year discount;

AND WHEREAS the TMA Board of Directors wishes to provide quarterly payment as an option for Life, Student and Youth members, and clarify what makes a member eligible for Student and Youth membership.

THE TMA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MOVES that the following amendments be made to TMA by-laws to provide relief:

10        (1) Effective January 1st, 20142021, the annual dues payable by regular members are:

(a)        255.00 paid in four equal quarterly instalments of $63.75 per quarter payable in January, April, July and October


(b)        $235.00 paid in full before the 31st day of January. $58.75 per quarter when paying for four or more quarters at once.  Notwithstanding, dues shall be $49.00 per quarter when paying for four or more quarters at once between January 1st and December 31st, 2021 in order to provide relief in the recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic.


(c)        $58.75 per quarter when registering for ongoing pre-authorized payment by quarter. Notwithstanding, dues shall be $49.00 per quarter when registering for ongoing pre-authorized payment by quarter between January 1st and December 31st, 2021 in order to provide relief in the recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Members who prepaid for any quarters in 2021 or future years on or before December 31, 2020 will have a quarter added to their membership at no charge in order to provide relief in the recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic

NOTE:   The annual dues include Federation per capita tax as required by the AFM By-Laws.



(2)       Life Members: Life members are required by the Federation to pay full Federation per capita dues and 25% of the Local’s regular annual dues and assessments.
Effective January 1st, 2021, (a)        the dues payable per quarter by Life members are $27.50.

(b)        the dues payable per quarter by Youth & Student members are $30.00.

(c)        Youth members are eligible until the end of the quarter following their 21st birthday.

(d)        Student members are eligible from the first quarter they provide proof of enrollment in full time post-secondary education when signing up or renewing.

(e)        Student and Youth members may pay dues per quarter for up to four quarters of membership when signing up or renewing.


2021 Covid-19 Motion 2 of 6 – Expelled Status Relief

WHEREAS TMA members have suffered great losses of income and wellbeing from the Covid-19 Pandemic and the associated public gathering restrictions;

AND WHEREAS an Expelled membership status due to non-payment does not have the same meaning within the economic environment of the pandemic;

AND WHEREAS The AFM International Executive Board has provided locals with the ability to extend the automatic expulsion of members who fail to pay their 2020 periodic membership dues;

AND WHEREAS Article 10(3)(b) of the TMA By-laws states “A member suspended for non-payment of dues shall be automatically expelled for such non-payment after 6 months”;

THE TMA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MOVES that, retroactive to July 1, 2020, the expelled deadline defined in Article 10 (3) (b) of the TMA By-Laws be extended until either the TMA Board passes a motion to reinstate the deadline, or until the AFM International Executive Board ends the provision for local boards to extend such deadlines, whichever comes first.

2021 Covid-19 Motion 3 of 6 –Reinstatement Relief

WHEREAS TMA members have suffered great losses of income and wellbeing from the Covid-19 Pandemic and the associated public gathering restrictions;

AND WHEREAS TMA Members who resigned in good standing during the pandemic and wish to be reinstated should be welcomed back with appreciation.

THE TMA BOARD OF DIRECTORS moves to reinstate Article 14 (2) of the TMA by-laws, originally suspended in a motion at the May 2020 General Meeting;

FURTHER THE TMA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MOVES that the following amendment be made to the same article to provide greater relief:

14        (2) A member who has resigned “in good standing” may be reinstated after one year of resignation upon payment of 50% of one year’s current annual dues.


2021 Covid-19 Motion 4 of 6 –Work Dues Relief for Music Lessons

WHEREAS the teaching of private and group music lessons remains regularly available work for musicians during the pandemic;

AND WHEREAS the TMA Board of Directors wishes to assist musicians at this time to ensure more of this work is reported to TMA;

AND WHEREAS the reporting of music lessons on contract will allow for members to become vested and remain vested in the Musicians Pension Fund of Canada;

AND WHEREAS TMA plans to launch an easy online music lesson reporting module in 2021;

THE TMA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MOVES that the following amendment be made to TMA by-laws to provide relief:

11        (1) All engagements in the jurisdiction of the Association are subject to work dues based on the minimum basic fee in the Tariff of Fees. All negotiated Local, National and International Agreements are subject to work dues based on the minimum basic fee as per the applicable agreement. AFM By-Laws provide a requirement that a percentage be submitted to the Federation, known as Federation Work Dues. (Contact the Local for the appropriate work dues percentage. Work dues are 5% for MPF, 3.5% for Electronic engagements, for 2021 0% for all engagements reported on the Teacher Reporting Module, and 3% for all other engagements.)