An Example Of Good Taste In Columbus

I just want to direct your attention to the Columbus (OH) Symphony Musicians website today.  The Columbus Symphony is another orchestra among the many financially troubled organizations across the country. 


I wanted to point out this particular website because it’s a very good example of how one side of a very tense labor negotiation should design an informative website.  Unlike the garish, propaganda laden website published by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association (POA), the Columbus Musicians website provides a factual timeline of events leading up to the current negotiation impasse as well as an online feedback forum.


Here are some additional comparisons between the POA website and the Columbus Musicians website:



  • The POA website is full of vague language; the Columbus Musicians website has detailed financial information from the past seven years.
  • The POA website only offers contact information for a paid PR consultant; the Columbus Musicians email link send messages directly to the chairman of the players committee.
  • The POA website doesn’t let you read what their patrons think; the Columbus Musicians website displays dozens of feedback messages directly from CSO patrons.
  • The POA site doesn’t provide information on how to contact their board chairman, Richard Smoot; the Columbus Musicians website provides email addresses and even lists the names of musicians that serve on the various musician committees.
  • The POA website is an information only site designed to only provide you the opportunity to listen to their point of view; the Columbus Musicians website provides a link to inform patrons on how to participate and take action.

Additionally, the Columbus Musicians website allows you to find information about private music teachers from the orchestra roster, links to other musician oriented websites, and even their entire Columbus symphony Orchestra Membership By-laws!


By making that last part available, anyone visiting the website can discover precisely how the CSO musicians go about making their decisions and govern their representative committees.  You just can’t ask for a more candid honest representation of how these musicians function as a whole


Their page is maintained by their webmaster, CSO violinist, David Tanner.  I think he deserves to receive a few positive emails from Adaptistration readers for putting together such a tasteful, website.  Perhaps Chairman Smoot over at the POA can catch a clue and learn about how to present ideas with good taste.

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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