March 2019

League of American Orchestras
March 8, 2019
Inaugural Edition of 7/8 Orchestras Connect: Mid-Winter 2019 Report

Table of Contents

Welcome to the 7/8 ED Newsletter!
by Heather Clarke, Idaho State-Civic Symphony
It was so great to see so many of you at our Mid-Winter Managers Meeting in NYC this past January!   Please take a moment to read the highlights from our Group 7/8 members in attendance, and hopefully take in a bit of what we were able to learn and discuss. I think all can agree that time spent in person to network and develop relationships amongst our constituency, while sharing and learning from one another, has proven invaluable to our success as an ED in a Group 7/8 Orchestra.  No need to feel isolated!  

Looking ahead, I hope many of you will join us at the League’s Conference this June 3-5, 2019 in Nashville. Registration is now open, and can be found at League of American Orchestras 2019 National Conference . I’m thrilled to share that individual members of orchestras in Groups 7/8 have been granted a discounted rate of $495, but wait, there’s more! There is an even lower group rate of $385 per person for two or more people from the same member Group 7/8 organization registering together. While we all know various costs associated with traveling to a meeting accumulate quickly, I hope you’ll find the financial relief a welcome acknowledgment of our organizational budgets, and perhaps the group rate will be an incentive to invite a staff or board member with you. There’s something for everyone at Conference, including interesting Pre-Conference seminars offer additional learning opportunities such as one from Aubrey Bergauer that involves how to implement her Long Haul Model. In addition, my fellow officers and I have worked with the League to put together a 7/8 constituency agenda that we’re excited about.


As always, feel welcome to be in touch with any questions, send feedback on this newsletter to our liaison, Najean Lee, and let's "kick up our heels" in Nashville!

A First-timer’s Perspective of the League's Mid-Winter Managers Meeting
by Virginia Macdonald, Portsmouth (NH) Symphony Orchestra
Ginna.jpgSince becoming executive director of my local orchestra, I’ve been taking advantage of as many of the League of American Orchestras’ resources as I can - asking questions through League 360, taking part in peer calls - so I was really excited to attend my first Mid-Winter Managers Meeting in NYC.  I had heard that if you cannot attend both the Conference AND this meeting, the meeting was definitely the event not to be missed.
I went to the free pre-meeting session on audience development, which included attendees from all the different group sizes.  It was interesting to see that no matter the size of our budgets, we all have similar things that we are all working on.  The plenary session which also involved all the orchestras was another chance to learn about industry-wide concerns and opportunities that affect us all.  

Most of my time was spent in meetings with the other group 7 / 8 managers, which felt very comfortable by the end of the first day.  It struck me that while we may have similar budget sizes, each of our orchestras are quite unique, adapting to our communities and stakeholders.  Some have more staff than others, bigger boards, all volunteer performers, or all paid performers.  Hearing about the experiences and perspectives of my peers across several subject areas was invaluable, and makes me feel like a much better ED for my organization. We were led through discussions by industry professionals on performers as contractors vs. employees, strategic planning, finances, and we ended with hot topics attendees wished to discuss. 

By the time I left I felt like I had found ‘my people’. Everyone was supportive of each other’s challenges, and the knowledge and experience of everyone there help me tremendously in my work. I will look forward to attending each year.

Pre-Conference Report: Audience Development Workshop with TRG  
by Lori Fisher, Timpanogos (UT) Symphony Orchestra
Lori.jpgAs a first time attendee at the League’s Mid-Winter Meeting, and as a new executive director for a group 8 orchestra that struggles with many startup issues, it seemed a no brainer to attend the Audience Development workshop with TRG. And for me, it made the entire weekend worth it. 

Coming from a smaller organization, I realize that this conversation with groups of all shapes and sizes may have seemed overwhelming for others, but for me there were some simple ideas that I can do now that I took away from this workshop.  The key ideas for me were: 
  • which metrics drive messaging and track loyalty, 
  • what to track to understand where people move within the patron continuum, 
  • and how to adjust spending to target specific types of buyers with specific types of programming. 
The ah-ha moment for me came with understanding which metrics to track in order to better utilize our messaging. As a small organization executive director, I have been working hard to gather all of our information regarding donors and ticket buyers into one location. This allowed us to fill out a pre-workshop questionnaire that assisted us in seeing the trends of single ticket buyers, season ticket buyers, and donors over a five-year period, both in numbers and units sold. For me this was invaluable. As we can see how our patrons move from ticket buyer to season ticket buyer to donor and how quickly they move from each group, we can target how we message to each group in order to move them through the continuum.

As a relatively new Executive Director, I knew the principles of what I should be keying into but didn’t know how to implement change or, more to the point, how to pay attention to the transitions. Utilizing the data that we provided along with key studies that were presented allowed me to come out with actionable goals moving forward.
Specifically, we are now tracking first-time single ticket buyers, multi- ticket buyers in the same season, new season ticket holders, and new donors and the program they attended when they purchased each new ticket type or made a donation. This will lead to specific messaging to target those specific groups.

The Sphinx Organization and the National Alliance for Audience Support
by Marc Thayer, Symphony NH
Marc.jpgAnyone working with an American orchestra should be aware of the Sphinx organization and the resources they make available to orchestras of all budget sizes.  Based in Detroit, Sphinx’s mission is to Transform Lives through Diversity in the Arts.  They support and promote African-American and Latin-x classical musicians and help to develop opportunities for them with symphony orchestras.Marc.jpg
Winners of their Concerto Competitions are available to hire as soloists at very affordable fees, and Sphinx serves as agents to coordinate with the young musicians.  Their roster is on their website and the quality of musicians is very high.
Recently the League of American Orchestras partnered with Sphinx and the New World Symphony to create NAAS (the National Alliance for Audition Support) to train and provide support for young musicians of color in taking orchestra auditions throughout the United States. Applicants can apply for a grant to help with the cost of taking auditions, airfare, hotel, or instrument repairs.  League member orchestras are invited to take part in NAAS mock auditions and are asked to support the project financially.  For group 7-8 orchestras the financial contribution is between $100-150, and I encourage all of you to support this endeavor for the sake of the industry.

I’ve encouraged their musicians not to ignore our auditions and likewise we need to embrace this mission as our own and work towards greater access, equity, and inclusion in all orchestras so that we reflect our communities and better connect with our audiences. This is also a great way to connect with young musicians in your areas who may not know they are welcome and invited to audition for your orchestras.  Some young musicians have said they don’t feel comfortable at orchestra auditions so we should be sensitive to the conditions that we provide. And we need to reach out and make everyone know they are wanted at our auditions, including sub-list and student programs.
Sphinx has a terrific staff that is available and happy to answer your questions. Check out their website and all their programs, resources, and opportunities.  And, I highly recommend going to their annual conference in Detroit at the end of January to fully comprehend all that they have to offer to each of us.

Consider Joining the New Music for America Commissioning Consortium  
by Warren Hyer, Central Ohio Symphony
Warren.jpgInspired by the success of the Ford Made in America project, “New Music for America” is a consortium of orchestras from all regions and smaller budget sizes devoted to commissioning, promoting, and performing the work of some of our nation's most important composers. Now embarking on its second commission, New Music for America began in 2015 with the creation of Christopher Theofanidis's "Dreamtime Ancestors." 
This is a wonderful opportunity for smaller size orchestras to participate in a commission with one of the top composers of today.
Announcing the next New Music for America Commission
Composer: Jennifer Higdon, Pulitzer Prize and double 2018 Grammy winner.
What: 17-minute orchestral suite on her opera “Cold Mountain.”
Instrumentation: 2,2,2,2 ; 4,3,3,1 ; 3 perc. (no tymp) ; strings 
When: World premiere by the Delaware Symphony in the fall 2021. All time zone premieres and regular performances will occur through June 2023.
Goal: At least one orchestra in every state with some duplicates available.
Participants: League orchestras mainly from groups 5-6, 7-8, and youth orchestras, but open to all.
Cost to join the consortium:
  • Group 7-8 and youth orchestras $1,200
  • Group 5-6 $1,700
  • All larger orchestra groups $2,200
  • Possible production re-grants available only if foundation funding is awarded.
Rental fees will be waived for two performance cycles of up to three performances/cycle for each orchestra.
Return shipping of the scores and parts are the responsibility of each orchestra.
The score will be completed during the spring of 2021 with performing materials available in summer 2021. The country has been divided by time zones – Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska/Hawaii. Once a territorial premiere date has been set, the other orchestras in that same time zone are free to set their own state or local performance dates.
By way of example, once the Delaware Symphony Orchestra has set the World Premiere date, all other partner orchestras in the Eastern Time Zone are free to set their performance dates. Once each Time Zone Premiere date is set, state and local premiere dates may be set.

Performance and Broadcast Rights: In accordance with the terms of the commission agreement made between Jennifer Higdon, Lawdon Press and the Consortium Steering Committee, Orchestra may perform the New Work in two (2) performance cycles of up to three (3) times each cycle during the exclusivity period without payment of rental, handling or re-stocking fees during the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 concert seasons, provided that the performance occurs according to the time zone, state or area premiere schedule that has been established by the Steering Committee.  All performance dates must be approved by the Steering Committee.  All public performances must present the work in its entirety, with the exception that orchestras may precede a full performance with presentation of brief excerpts as an audience engagement technique.
Orchestra must be licensed by Jennifer Higdon’s affiliated performing rights society, ASCAP, at the time of its performance of New Work. Orchestra will be required to submit three copies of all programs to ASCAP, for any and all performances of the New Work. Said programs must be sent to:

      One Lincoln Plaza
      New York, NY  10023

Performance Materials: Orchestra must place a formal order (including the number of full scores needed, specific string counts, and address for delivery of materials) for each set of performance materials required for each and every performance with the Lawdon Press no later than 120 days prior to the first rehearsal date. Publisher’s shipping cost is included in the orchestras’ commission fee.
Return shipping costs, cancellation fees and late fees will be the responsibility of each Orchestra.  Each set must be returned to Lawdon Press immediately following its use.

Even if your state already has an orchestra, we encourage you to contact Bob Rosoff to indicate your interest.
 AZ  Arizona Philharmonic
 CO  Boulder Philharmonic
 DE  Delaware Symphony
 GA  Atlanta Symphony
 ID  Boise Philharmonic
 MA  Plymouth Philharmonic
 MI  Holland Symphony
 NV  Reno Philharmonic
 NY  Glens Falls Symphony
 OH  Central Ohio Symphony
 SC  Long Bay Symphony, South Carolina Philharmonic
 TN  Knoxville Symphony
 WI  Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra

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