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Women Who Wow Us: Spotlight 13

KRISTY NORTER

Kristy Norter is a freelance musician specializing in woodwind instruments. She is the music coordinator for SIX, making her the only female music coordinator on Broadway. Kristy also currently plays saxophone on Broadway in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. Some of her past credits include A Bronx Tale, In the Heights, Newsies, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the Big Apple Circus, Radio City Spring Spectacular, Himself and Nora, and multiple shows at the Paper Mill Playhouse including originating the Reed 1 books for Ever After, Bandstand, Bronx Tale, The Sting, The Honeymooners, Halftime, and Benny and Joon. Kristy has subbed on dozens of Broadway musicals and performed with many talented musicians including Idina Menzel, Chita Rivera, Nancy Wilson, Bernadette Peters, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Feinstein, Bootsy Collins, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Broadway Backwards Orchestra, Broadway on Broadway Orchestra, Diane Schuur, and Alan Cumming. Her Music Coordinator credits include Cyrano, For Colored Girls, Kristin Chenoweth’s For the Girls Concert Series, and SIX.

A Conversation with Kristy Norter

Jamie Maletz: I want to start off by talking about the exciting thing that’s happening soon, which is that you are doing the music contracting for SIX.  So what is a music contractor?

Kristy Norter: The technical term that most people prefer is music coordinator, but the slang, if you will, is contractor. I work for the producers, first and foremost. I advise the producers on Union rules, help them apply the Broadway CBA to their show, hire the right group of musicians for the production, and supervise the business side of the orchestra. It is the go-between between the producers, stage management, Local 802 and the musicians, in a way that you advocate for musicians but also hold them accountable to the rules in the contract, make sure that everyone is paid fairly. 

JM: So you hire the musicians and then you make sure that they get paid, and you make sure that they’re fulfilling their duties.

Kristy Norter: In essence, setting up the show, finding out what management wants, talking about anything from backline equipment–you know, do we need amps? If they’re onstage– like in SIX they’re onstage– do they need costumes? So I, you know, do they need fittings? Do we need to organize it? Setting up rehearsals, renting rehearsal space, making sure you have the equipment for all of that, and countless emails to everyone to make sure everything is on par and that everyone understands what the expectations are. And then from there, once the show’s up and running… you know, checking in, making sure everything’s cool, dealing with any problems that come up, resolving conflicts if there’s conflicts.  Or if there’s something new, like a TV appearance or something, getting involved and making sure everybody understands the rules and what that might entail, cast albums if they do that, that would be a whole ’nother discussion with the recording studio, making sure you have all the right equipment there, scheduling that, you know… it’s a lot.

JM: It’s not just music coordination, it’s like, everything coordination.

Kristy Norter: On the music side, yes, but not artistically because that’s the music director or music supervisor’s role.

JM: So it’s kind of like being a production manager but just for the music?

Kristy Norter: Yes, yeah, I would agree with that.

JM: That’s really– that’s a lot! And then you mentioned sometimes you’re also a musician in the band when you’re a music coordinator, if you’re in-house?

Kristy Norter: One can be.

JM: Are you, for SIX?

Kristy Norter: I’m not– there are no reeds on SIX, so I’m gonna keep my position, which I love, at The Tina Turner Musical right now. I’m onstage and playing and having a great time. It’s an awesome show and I’m happy to be there, and then I’ll be…

JM: Doing this for SIX?

Kristy Norter: Yeah, and currently I’m also coordinating two Off-Broadway shows.

JM: That is so much! How do you manage all the things that are on your plate?

Kristy Norter: One of the things I think that helps me succeed in this is that I’m fairly quick to recognize and accept what I don’t know, and I try to get the best answer for what I need to know, what I need to learn. I don’t have a problem admitting when I don’t know something. I’ll know it the next time. I’ve done very simple in terms of organization, I just keep a running list of tasks, and I’ll pull it out– it’s just a laundry list, and I’ll cross it off and keep adding to the list.

JM: What do you do when that list gets really bloated and you’re like, “there are not enough hours in the day, no human can keep up?”

Kristy Norter: The list is ongoing, you know, you prioritize and arrange according to the things that need to happen and then, uh, [laughs] do your best to do everything else.

JM: So, when you got this position, and I think even now… other than you, there are no female music contractors on Broadway?

Kristy Norter: There aren’t any currently.

JM: Wow.

Kristy Norter: I mean, I’m excited, and I’m also equally appropriately nervous. I think this is something that most women and people who are marginalized… we don’t necessarily feel it’s just us when we do a job well, or not well. We feel like we represent our entire group.  And so I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself with this, because I don’t think failure’s an option in this situation. Not that I would do a bad job, but I feel more pressure than just starting a new job.

JM: I believe in you.

Kristy Norter: [Laughs] I appreciate that, thank you. You’re not the only one, which is why I’m doing this, so– you know, appropriately nervous.

JM: So, the chain of events that led to this… Georgia [Stitt] shared in a speech the statistic that there were no female contractors on Broadway, and people were like, “Is that true? That’s horrendous!” And then when SIX was going to Broadway, the writers of SIX said, “We want a female music contractor.” And there was that pushback excuse of “Well, we don’t know any,” and the writers of SIX, Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow, said, “Okay, we’ll call Georgia Stitt.” And she gave them your name. Is that… do I have that right?

Kristy Norter: Yes. I mean in terms of specifically SIX, it was Georgia [Stitt] and Mary Mitchell Campbell. You know, it’s probably been a little surprising to some people that all of a sudden I’m doing a Broadway show, but there’s been a lot going on for the better part of a year that has led to this. I’m a person that believes in working your way up, so it’s been a little fast, but I understand why it needs to be fast, and I’m up to the task of doing this.

JM: Yeah, absolutely. This is something that I personally love and am so excited about. You know, there were no female music contractors on Broadway, and then through women lifting up other women, with Mary Mitchell Campbell and Maestra, and you working your butt off, now there’s gonna be one.

Kristy Norter: Yeah. 

JM: That’s amazing.

Kristy Norter: It is amazing.

JM: And with such an appropriate show. I mean, SIX is a show that’s about women reclaiming their narrative– like how perfect is that?

Kristy Norter: Yeah. And I think it’s really important to recognize that there were other women involved in the field, behind the scenes, in different aspects of the field that have been doing this a long time, and this wouldn’t be possible without them. There’s Talitha Fehr in Canada who does a lot of tours, and then I know John Miller has employed multiple women including Connie Barron, Jennifer Coolbaugh, and Nichole Jennino to work in his office that are amazing, and Jill Dell’Abate who contracts for TV and recording sessions. Sandy Park contracts for TV. Also, Kimberlee Wertz, who contracts the Tony Awards and also the Kennedy Center Honors… so it’s not like there aren’t female contractors. It’s just, they’ve been sort of quietly doing it in their own way. There just hasn’t been one on Broadway.

JM: Until now. I think the fact that you’re feeling the way that you’re feeling, a little bit nervous, a little bit like failure’s not an option, that just speaks to you as a professional. That makes me feel even more like you’re the perfect person for the job. You’re taking it so seriously.

Kristy Norter: It’s a very important thing to take seriously.

JM: The gravitas is not lost on you.

Kristy Norter: No. And it’s not just having female representation in this position, it’s potentially gonna change the hiring system, from coordinator down, on Broadway.

JM: I learned something recently that I didn’t know, and that I want to make sure gets shared: When you’re trying to play in the pit of a Broadway show, you don’t audition. You just get hired through a contractor. And the contractor knows you through… just… how do people break into that? [Laughs] And that’s why it was all the more awful that there were no female contractors. Because the only people that had the power to hire people were men.

Kristy Norter: Yep.

JM: And you couldn’t audition. So if you’re a woman trying trying to get into a pit… how do you… that’s not fair!

Kristy Norter: [Laughs] Um, it’s a complicated question. For me, it was old school. You know somebody, they recommend you to somebody else, you start subbing, you pay dues, you learn, and if you succeed you get more offers from people, people trust you. And you start building a network. I still really really strongly love– in music in general, not just Broadway– we’ve always learned from the people who came before us. Mentoring is how we learn our craft and our art, and at a certain point we can transcend that and become artists ourselves, but we always come from a tradition of learning from mentors.

JM: Right.

Kristy Norter: So as a contractor, my main goal, in terms of hiring people, is to provide the perfect marriage of our assets, the experienced musicians who have made a difference in this community, who are the best of the best, and get different groups of people who have not had access to these wonderful musicians at an earlier, less stressful point in their career so they can be mentored. And I really believe strongly in this. When they hired me for SIX and explained that they wanted a very diverse band, I was thrilled, and then I asked them how serious they were about that.  And during my interview, we had a long talk, and it was a very blunt discussion. I tend to just sort of say what I’m thinking; I’m a blunt person.  But I said, “I’m not interested in checking off boxes for you guys. If that’s what you want, I’m not the person for this job.” And they were actually great. They were like, “We don’t want you to. We’re willing to support what you think is necessary.” And I said, “Really?” And they were like, “Yeah, what does it look like to you?” And I said, “I have an idea.” And they said, “Okay, let’s hear it.” And I said, “I wanna have band camp.” ’Cause I believe that I’m probably gonna be a little more involved in helping find trained subs than on a normal show. So I’m gonna have four musicians onstage and each of them can have up to 5 subs. So in order to get this diverse all-female band onstage, people who can memorize an hour and a half of music, people who are willing to do all this stuff, I have to think outside of the Broadway box. I don’t know that there are as many players as we’re gonna need currently in the Broadway scene, and I said, “I will not set those people up for failure. I refuse to do that. So band camp, you guys are gonna pay rehearsal scale, I’m gonna OK it with [Local] 802 [the musician’s union], and I’m gonna teach. No playing, I’m gonna teach the regular job expectations and how to do things that they haven’t had the opportunity to learn. And I’m gonna have one with the subs as well, and what their role is, teach them how to sub. Because they haven’t had the experience.”

JM: I love that.

Kristy Norter: I pitched it to them, they were thrilled, they said, “You think the union’s gonna go for this?” I said, “There’s only one way to find out.” So I sent an email to Adam [Krauthamer], our president of 802, and Theresa Couture, the Broadway rep, and they both loved the idea.

JM: It’s so good. One of the initiatives of Maestra is to educate and mentor and find a way to arm our members for success. It’s not enough to just be a community, we also want to find a way to properly uplift and properly educate.

Kristy Norter: Yeah. And I know that that there’s a lot of frustration currently, on both sides, because you have the establishment nervous because they’re feeling that new people are being brought in for reasons other than just musical. At least that’s their perception– they feel like they’re losing out on more because they’re the wrong gender or the wrong color.  And while I’m sympathetic to that, I had a recent conversation with a male colleague where I was like, “I’m really sorry you’re feeling what the rest of us have felt our entire career.” And it was an educational moment for both of us, you know? I mean, we were able to hear each other, we had a really great conversation. I think that a lot of people don’t realize what it feels like to be the only woman in the room.  I mean, I can’t even tell you how many pits I sub in where I’m literally the only female. And statistically, I went through and looked at the Broadway hires over the last eight years, and, of roughly 1400 Broadway chairs– new hires, I didn’t count any of the pre-existing shows– 22% were women. And of that 22%, about 75-80% of that, string players. It’s falling along the gender lines of harp and flute and strings, yay! Everything else, no.

JM: Actually, those statistics are what got me involved with Maestra. Georgia [Stitt] shared those statistics in her speech at the Lilly Awards.

Kristy Norter: Oh that was my, uh– that was literally my research.

JM: Oh really? That’s amazing.  Yeah, Georgia shared those statistics, and I walked up to her after the speech and said, “I need to volunteer for you.” And it snowballed from there.

Kristy Norter: I deal with numbers. I like facts. To me it’s one thing to say, “You’re not hiring enough women.” Prove it.

JM: So you did. But speaking of hiring women, you do actually play in a pit currently, in The Tina Turner Musical.

Kristy Norter: Uh-huh. Onstage.

JM: Onstage! How does that–

Kristy Norter: With a big featured solo where I have to come down the stairs and into the spotlight, and then I play this screaming solo.

JM: That’s incredible. So what do you wear if you’re onstage as you’re screaming on your saxophone?

Kristy Norter: Well, funny you should ask. First of all, on the Broadway contract, there are 3 different things besides your base wage. When you’re onstage, there’s a percentage, a premium that you get for being onstage, and there’s an additional premium that you get if you are in costume, and there’s a 3rd premium if you are given choreography.

JM: So you get all 3?

Kristy Norter: Mm-hmm. I get onstage, and I get– well, it’s this funny thing, we were told [to] “wear black,” but when I came down to do my solo, one of the wardrobe people came up to me after a couple days and handed me this leather jacket. And there’s like embroidery on it and stuff, you know, it looks pretty badass, it’s kinda fun. 

Kristy on the Jumbotron playing her solo at The Tina Turner Musical.

JM: That’s awesome. So, you’ve also played for A Bronx Tale, In The Heights, Newsies, and many shows at Paper Mill Playhouse. So what is it like to play in the pit for a Broadway show?

Kristy Norter: Well, first of all, I really love musical theatre.  Some people that do this just need the money; I really enjoy it. I love playing every day, you know, performing and trying to make things sound perfect over and over again. It’s like a small family, you’re around them six days a week, and they’re with you when things are good, they’re with you when things are bad. I remember my first show was In The Heights. It’s still one of my absolute favorites. It was something special, not just the show itself but the talent in it. There are a lot of great stories, and a lot of camaraderie. This being onstage thing is kinda new for me, on a Broadway level, so that’s been really fun and a little scary.  Like you look up and there’s 1400 people… you lose sight of that when you’re at the back. You know there are people there, but they’re not looking at you.

JM: Right! 

Kristy Norter: But it’s fun, having my rockstar wannabe dreams.

JM: You’ve also performed with some really cool people. I have the whole list from your bio: Chita Rivera, Nancy Wilson, Bernadette Peters, Kristen Chenoweth, Michael Feinstein… do you have any fun gig stories from those experiences? What level of interaction do you get with these people when you play for them?

Kristy Norter: It varies. Nancy Wilson is just an absolute legend, and she was very sweet. I brought my copy of the CD, she signed it for me and she took a picture. She was just very professional, sweet to the band, there was no diva behavior. Just a normal human being who happens to have the voice of an angel. I mean she was amazing. And same thing when I performed with Kristen Chenoweth, she’s just a lovely human being, first of all. And secondly, I remember at the end of the show– ’cause, like, I generally don’t bother the famous performers. I just wanted to have a quick chat with her. And so it was the end of the night and we were done with the concert, and we were backstage, and she was being ushered into an elevator by the security staff because she needed to go to some meet and greet. And I just quietly said, “I’m so sorry, would it be ok–” and the security guard shut me down, and she stopped and she’s like, “She’s in my band! Here–” and then we took a picture and I just started laughing, ’cause I was like, oh my god.  

JM: So when playing for Broadway and high-profile shows, what are your favorite and least favorite parts of the job?

Kristy Norter: The favorite– I mean, there’s nothing cooler than playing to really excited people. Actually, on A Bronx Tale we weren’t in the pit; we were in a room that was isolated, so the first few nights we couldn’t hear audience applause, ’cause they would shut down the mics whenever we finished a song. So we would play, and then it would be dead silent.  And it started to kind of affect us, and we– it’s sort of silly, but we asked them to put crowd noise into our headphones, because it felt weird…

JM: Yeah, so you can tell what’s going on.

Kristy Norter: And I went home and my spouse Katie was like, “Oh, boo hoo, other people don’t get applause when they do their job!” [Laughs]

JM: Yeah, but… still!

Kristy Norter: She was teasing me. She was gently teasing me.

JM: Well, knowing the audience’s energy does make a difference.

Kristy Norter: Yeah, so, that part of it, the energy of a show, you see the line of people outside– it’s great. Um, the parts that are difficult… the schedule is relentless. And the actors have it even worse. You know, working six days a week, even though on Broadway it’s just one show, after a while you do get a little… you know, it’s Groundhog Day.  You’re doing the same thing every day, and you don’t wanna be late and you’re dealing with the MTA… after a while, you just need a minute.  And that’s true on every show. As much fun as we have, there’s something about not having a proper weekend, like two days. Typically we’re working 24 hours a week, that’s it, but it seems like so much more, you know?

JM: Yeah. So what advice do you have for women who are interested in breaking into the world of being a pit musician or a contractor?

Kristy Norter: The musician one is very easy: Do good work, get to know people, pay your dues, do not assume that stuff is gonna be given to you immediately, and learn how to be a team player. Your professional skills are the most important part. Anyone can play, and for me, I need someone who is good at business; they show up on time, they answer texts and emails relatively quickly and, you know, they make themselves available and I can trust them to handle the job. The contracting thing, I think two basic things come to mind. One would be experience yourself in the pit, ’cause it’s hard to know how to manage a gig if you’ve never been in those situations.  So you really need to have the in-the-pit experience to know how to manage that stuff, to know what you’re listening to, understand who to hire, understand the rules, understand why those rules exist. Often times the union stuff you’re responsible for enforcing, or advocating for the musicians in certain situations, if you’ve never been in that situation it slips your mind ’cause you’re not thinking, you know– you’ve never sat next to a trumpet player and known what their face feels like after they’ve been playing high notes for an hour, why they need a break. It’s one thing to see on paper you need to give them a break every so often, it’s another to actually see it and watch them and know. 

JM: For people who are super new, like, someone like me for example, who’s never sat in a Broadway pit– not that I’m striving to be a Broadway contractor, I don’t pretend to have those skills– but I know there are a lot of positions where the advice is to “sit in the pit, experience it.” So how can people get those opportunities?

Kristy Norter: Everybody needs to get a break from somebody, get their foot in the door. And I think just being sincere, asking someone for what you want, not making demands or feeling entitled to something, but just earnestly saying, “This is something that interests me, is there any way,” you know. Which is kinda– that’s how I subbed on my first show, was just saying, “I’m not bothering you for work, I just want to see what it’s like, would you mind if I just came and watched and shadowed your book?” And it was just the right timing because this musician was losing a bunch of subs, they had gotten their own shows, so he met me and I guess I wasn’t a total idiot when I was introducing myself [laughs], I didn’t seem too bad. ’Cause first impressions, they do matter, and I think in this business it’s really hard for people, ’cause you’re nervous and you’re trying to prove yourself and you’re, you know, what’s too much? What’s not enough? Self-promotion’s tough.

JM: It’s really hard.  Especially if you’re an awkward person. 

Kristy Norter: It’s difficult– and it’s hard when you’re in an all-male pit, like what’s appropriate behavior? I’ve seen women try to dress a certain way and flirt, I’ve seen, “I’ll just be one of the guys”, I’ve seen a middle-ground– and I don’t know what the answer is. I know what I do, you know, just try to be a good person, somebody who’s fun and easy to get along with no problems, no issues, so that when you need something you can ask and you’re not coming off like a diva or entitled or anything like that, just good attitude. It’s way too easy for people to start complaining about things. Like, people are paying me to play my instrument, and have for a really long time, I don’t have much to complain about. And in New York I think people get used to commenting, criticizing… I’ve seen it with people in the industry.

JM: To be negative and to complain?

Kristy Norter: Yeah. If something’s really bad, by all means find the right person and present the problem in an appropriate mature way, where a solution can be found.  But to just constantly, “aah, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s this, oh, I can’t believe–” Some people are just so, they don’t even know they’re doing it, but it’s just constant. There was a musician, Rick Centalonza, who passed away a few years ago, he was one of the reed players on Chicago, and he was a character.  I mean he really was– great guy, very classically talented, big personality. And I was young, in my mid-20s and I was subbing.  I show up and he’s like, “How are you doing?” And I start to answer and he cuts me off, and he’s like, “Listen, when somebody in this business asks you how you’re doing, just say you’re good.  Not too good, not too bad, you hear what I’m saying?” You know, it’s like, nobody cares. And he wasn’t being… he was sort of giving me a life lesson, you know; you’re a 24-year-old who sits down next to a 50-year-old who’s got a mortgage and a family, and he says how are you, he just wants to hear, “Great, how are you?” He doesn’t wanna hear your life story. Not that I was doing that, but he was just making sure I knew that as a newbie, like, “this is what you say.” 

JM: Interesting. 

Kristy Norter: It’s all part of setting a foundation of professionalism. I think so often musicians just think about the music part of it. You don’t get taught business in music school. People don’t understand that when you show up and warm up really loud in a pit that that’s maybe not good manners, or things like that, you know? I had a conversation with an older musician who was asking me if I had problems with my subs sending silly texts– not professional, like, he would text someone, can you sub for me on this date, and they would respond with emojis. And he was like, I’m not getting this. It’s work, you know? It’s those little details that make a difference. Be a pro.

JM: Yeah. That’s really good advice.

Kristy Norter: It’s worked for me so far. And it’s funny, in New York, it seems like there are so many people that are great players, it’s often these little things that make a difference. You can be an OK player and a great person, or a phenomenal player and a kind of pain in the ass, but you can’t be a little bit of both. Actually, nowadays–

JM: The attitude is more important than the skill? Like, as long as you’re playing the part correctly?

Kristy Norter: Yeah, like if you were picking between two players and they were both of the same caliber or close, you would go with the easier person who gets along with everybody. It’s easier for the person who’s doing the hiring, it’s easier for the section, it’s easier for the conductor.

JM: And, I mean, as someone who does producing as well as writing, when it comes to communication, I definitely take responsiveness into consideration.

Kristy Norter: I have a lot– ’cause you know, I often have a couple of gigs where I’m subbing out a lot to people, and I will make judgements about how people answer the communication.  As much as I hate to say it, the people who answer the text quickly when I ask if they want a gig– even if they can’t do it, if they answer quickly– I tend to ask them more frequently than the people who wait a day to get back to me. It’s not that I’m not gonna hire the other person, it’s just I need an answer, so if I know that this person lives with their phone, I’m gonna try them first, because it’s easier for me. 

JM: Yeah, it’s good to know, it’s good to get the answer.

Kristy Norter: Yes, exactly. And again, if they can’t do it, it’s not a big deal, but I can’t call someone else or text someone else to cover the show until I hear a yes or no from you, because that would be rude for me to offer you work and then try someone else, unless it’s an emergency, like a last minute thing. It’s so much better to just be like, “Hey are you available?” “Yes.”

JM: 100%. Okay, so now for the big question: why did you join Maestra?

Kristy Norter: I joined Maestra ’cause I really believed in what Georgia Stitt and Mary Mitchell Campbell were doing, trying to make a difference. And initially I was, in all honesty, wanting to know where Georgia was going with this group. And I actually met her, I invited her out to lunch, and talked for a while to see what her mission was. And after we spoke and I got how sincere she was, I happily joined. I didn’t want this to be yet another situation of just women griping that they’re not getting work but not trying to make the necessary changes to facilitate themselves succeeding. And once I talked to Georgia and got where she was coming from, I was 100% on board.  I joined that night. ’Cause she’s awesome.

JM: Why do you think Maestra is important?

Kristy Norter: You know, this is a really important question. I’m glad that you asked that, because for somebody who’s been behind-the-scenes for twenty years in New York and wanting to just sort of be one of the musicians and not noticed… recently it dawned on me that representation, especially visual representation, is really important. I don’t think I really got that in my younger years. I think that most of my mentors were men and I just thought that that was fairly natural, and after a while– it’s in the last three or four years– I’ve come around to understanding how important visual representation is. So for me, Maestra is that: getting things more visible, getting people out there, giving opportunities to people. For me also, recently with The Tina Turner Musical, I have to go onstage and play a solo, and I was terrified, ’cause it’s not really what I do– I’m a pit musician. And so it took me a long time to come around. I remember feeling really scared about it, and talking to one of the wardrobe crew and she said, “You have to play this solo. It’s important that you play this solo. Visual representation is extremely important.” And I thought about it, and she was right.  And even though I’m uncomfortable, it’s really important that I’m the one up there taking the solo, and that people can see that– especially younger musicians, younger female musicians, and also just society. 

JM: And how has Maestra helped you or people that you know so far?

Kristy Norter: I know a lot of people have gotten gigs. I think the first level, first layer, that it’s helped is just the community, and the support for other women, and a place where people can talk about some issues. One of the things that I’m enjoying thus far is that sometimes support groups have a tendency for people to go and just complain, and this has been refreshingly more about making people aware of things and presenting ways to actually make change. The people who are involved seem to be more on board with doing things that will actually make a difference instead of just complaining about how it’s been in the past. So I’m really happy for Georgia [Stitt] that it’s become a positive place for people to make a difference. I think on top of that, the next layer is that people are actually getting referred to gigs. You know, there are employers out there, men and women, who are aware that they need to hire more diverse bands and include women on the music team, so this gives them a resource to find people to fill up those roles in a way that seems… you know, it’s more authentic.

JM: Why should people care about the services that we offer and the goals that we’re working towards?

Kristy Norter: I think that in this society, especially in New York… I mean, it’s the melting pot, and it’s also the place that sets the pace for so many other things around the country, and around the world for that matter, in terms of art and music.  I think it’s important that we stay at the forefront of showing our community in its true colors and its true light by who we hire in bands. And that means a melting pot of everyone who is here and having people represented on every level of the music business. So Maestra’s providing a service right now– one of many services, I think, that are needed. They’re doing their part to work on more gender equality. There needs to be more groups like this, and I don’t think that one group can succeed at everything. Maestra’s a fantastic start, and I think that more groups will probably pop up. But also, eventually, we’d like for there to be no need for any groups– I mean that’s the goal, for me, to create a group where you achieve your mission so you could get rid of the groups. But I think as long as they keep changing what the mission is and looking forward and re-evaluating, Maestra’s gonna be around for a long time and making quite an impact.  I also think that there are a lot of very talented women who are behind it [who are] using their hard-earned power and influence in this town to help others. I think that’s incredibly important.

Special thanks to Kristy for sharing her story.

Read more of our Women Who Wow Us series, including interviews with Nancy Ford, Anessa Marie, Elise Frawley, Erin McKeown, Meg Zervoulis, Masi Asare, Britt Bonney, Jennifer Isaacson, Emily Grishman, Rona Siddiqui, Sheilah Rae, and Kathy Sommer.

Women Who Wow Us
Author/Photographer: Jamie Maletz
Editor: Sara Cooper

Volunteer: Elspeth Collard


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