Honolulu Looks Forward With New Labor Agreement

Although it hasn’t garnered much national attention, a major event transpired over the past week in Hawaii as the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra (HSO) reached a three year agreement with their musicians. For an organization that has been plagued by a series of financial problems and board destabilization over the past few years, the agreement should serve as a concrete commitment to earlier sentiments of cohesion between the musicians and the board. Details of the new agreement, along with a slew of reader comments, are available in a comprehensive article by Christie Wilson in the 9/13/080 edition of the Honolulu Adviser. Perhaps an omen of good things to come, the Adviser published a very positive review of the HSOs “Ring without Words” concert the following day.

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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