Sandra Billingslea
Violin, Contractor, Faculty – York College, CUNY and Rutgers University

“She asks the hard questions, can foresee pitfalls and delves behind the obvious to the root of problems.”

Cecelia Hobbs Gardner is an exceptional violinist, leader and lawyer. I met Cecelia at the Imperial Theatre during Michael Bennett’s Dreamgirls in 1982. After subbing at Dreamgirls, Cecelia was hired for many Broadway shows of her own. We have played TV & movie soundtracks, commercials, popular and jazz recordings, contemporary, classical, orchestral, ballet, chamber and every genre of music imaginable together. Cecelia is always organized, diligent, and imaginative in music preparation and execution. She applies that same work ethic and diligence when serving on orchestra committees and during negotiations.

Cecelia initiated some of the early attempts to formalize anti-harassment guidelines in the Broadway pits and all work environments during the 1990s. She persisted when told to drop it. She did not. She wanted to ensure there were protections and behavioral guidelines for every pit and orchestra musician. This was groundbreaking at the time and some of  those guidelines are still in place today.

Cecelia is honest and direct. Her integrity is unmatched. You always know where you stand with Cecelia. At Union meetings, Cecelia questions and challenges statements and bylaws, striving for clarity and full disclosure of proposed legislation or candidate platforms. She asks the hard questions, can foresee pitfalls and delves behind the obvious to the root of problems