Concert Hall Follow Up KC Symphony: REVISED

To wrap up the series of concert hall follow up articles, I finally have some news about the final orchestra from the original concert hall study Kansas City.   Unfortunately, the KCS management still declined to participate, but fortunately, the musicians were willing to share some of their developments. 


Over the past six months there have been some positive developments.  According to one of the orchestra musicians, the musician representatives have met with the entire concert hall design team on several occasions. 


During their first meeting, they discussed issues related to back stage small rehearsal spaces and dressing room issues.  The design team also informed the informed the committee that they were planning to use a series of automated risers that may make some of what they were asking for logistically and financially impossible.


According to one musician, the orchestra players felt disappointed at first but at a recent meeting the design team told them that they were able to not only keep the automated risers, but also found a way to include nearly quadruple the amount of backstage facilities and rehearsal space that the players originally asked for.  And they were able to add all of this without adding anything extra to their budget.


One player said, “The attitude from the design team has been very accommodating.  Toyota, the acoustician, met with the players committee several times and with all of the players once, but he didn’t answer direct questions.”


Overall, the players I spoke with have been pleased with the amount of information that has been provided by management regarding their hall developments.  The only concerns that are as of yet unaddressed were related to how the orchestras marketing and development departments are going to coordinate with their counterparts in the Performing Arts Center, who will actually own and operate the concert hall.


Additional Thoughts Grant Park


A recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times by Wynne Delacoma details how the grant Park festival had to cut off selling memberships to the opening of their new performance venue at Millennium Park. 


The article does a good job at showing how a new venue can generate initial interest in ticket sales for a new performing arts complex now all that needs to happen is for the new venue to provide the audience with a high quality listening experience. 


If not, you might find a number of those memberships on Ebay as owners try to unload their tickets and recoup their expenses.


If so, then you might find a number of those memberships on Ebay as a few “venture capitalists” try to profit on their initial investment.


But when you consider the old venue where the Grant Park festival Orchestra is coming from, they have no where to go but up regarding acoustical quality.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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