Transformation in American Orchestras
Key Takeaways to Apply to OSU:
Research & Coordination
- Board Liaison Program - While other communities are consolidating similar organizations, we do not need to go that route. However, we do need more coordination and collaboration with certain organizations in the community. We recommend a board liaison program where a board member from OSU is assigned as a liaison to another organization, and that organization will likewise have a board member assigned as a liaison to OSU. Liaisons are invited to all board and planning meetings. Organizations to consider would include SUU, Cedar City Chamber, Music Arts, and Shakespeare Festival.
- Researching Audiences through Surveys – Simple surveys included in the programs can be an effective way to understand who is attending concerts, which marketing materials are more effective than others, and what kinds of music and shows will appeal to our audiences (example below). These are all basic, yet essential questions that will allow us to strengthen our presence in the community. In the future, we can even work to employ small, cost-effective focus groups aimed at demographics that our surveys have indicated we do not reach, for example, 20-30 yr olds, in order to curate programs that will appeal to more members of the community.
Relationships & Interaction – Administration, Musicians & Volunteers
- Changing Orchestra Culture – There is a historical separation between management and musicians that is inherent to every orchestra and symphony. We need to work to bridge this gap. Musicians can and should be more involved in the planning and inner workings of the orchestra. Not only is there a huge amount of musical and administrational knowledge within the orchestra body that is currently untapped, more actual involvement will create an environment that makes the musicians want to be more involved and stakeholders in the success of our orchestra. Musicians should also know the board members & staff and vice versa. A working reciprocal relationship between management and musicians will help all levels of OSU match in perfection and creativity.
- Relationship-building among volunteers - While keeping board activities limited, plan for more activities that facilitate relationship-building among volunteers. This can be accomplished through revitalizing a guild or friends of the orchestra program, or through more non-performance or practice activities for orchestra members and the community. Perhaps as post-concert dinner or drinks with a guest artist, conductors or the musicians, hand-written thank you notes, or signed pictures of the orchestra.
- "Get on Board" Event - Event to encourage young professionals to volunteer through the board or other organization projects. Cedar City Chamber is willing to host and plan this, and each nonprofit could have 5-10 mins to present on what attributes are needed in volunteers and in what ways volunteers are needed.
- Recommended Reading for All Board Members - The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer https://www.amazon.com/New-Breed-Understanding-Equipping-Volunteer/dp/0764486195
- Gold Book Award, Volunteer Council – goldbookonline.org Deadline: August 1
- Streaming for Access to Arts and Fundraising - Livestream concerts to YouTube or other platform. This would allow families with young children to tune in. Use a platform with a permanent link as well. Include a "suggested donation" link.
- Adventurousness & Curious Audiences – Develop concert series that brings the Orchestra to different locations including either indoor or outdoor with regional or atmospheric repertoire. An easy way to jump start this/test the effectiveness would be the outdoor rehearsal initiated last fall with the additions discussed at the November board meeting, i.e. food trucks and additional events in addition to the rehearsal.
- Planned Giving – “If you are not asking for planned giving, you are missing out on charitable dollars.” - Dan Coleman, Associate Director of Planned Giving and Major Gifts Officer, Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Do we have a Planned Gift Program? Obviously we are a small group from a small town, however we can still reasonably look to increase general donations as well as planned charitable gifts, it is all about how we frame and position ourselves as part of the artistic culture of the community. Right now, this is at the very least something to think about and discuss as a board. We have additional information if there is interest.
Written and Compiled by Matthew Erhard & W. Tyler Melling
|National Conference includes live music|
|Seeing Canada from Detroit|
|Max M. Fisher Music Center—Orchestra Hall|
|Detroit Concert Hall|
|Ceiling of Concert Hall|