Spreading Some Christmas Cheer

With Christmas right around the corner, I thought it would be nice to focus on some good news. First up, in case you haven’t already heard the Virginia Symphony received an early Christmas present in the form of a $500,000 loan from the Norfolk Economic Development Authority. According to the 12/18/2008 edition of The Virginian-Pilot, symphony board chair, Blair Wimbush, the funds, in combination with budget cuts, will enable the organization to reach the end of the current season…

gift bagsNext, the National Arts Centre managed to reclaim a “missing” contrabassoon when they discovered a local pawn shop listed it for sale on eBay. Fortunately, the instrument made it back to the organization but it made me remember a long standing story from my conservatory days about the school’s only tuba that regularly went missing but inevitably ended up in the music store across the street. It happened often enough and the instrument became so well known (although you think the music store would have been to recognize it after the first few times) that one enterprising “seller” decided to alter the instrument’s appearance by stripping away the lacquer coating. The really funny part of all this is that the instrument was terrible; it produced an awful sound and was in constant state of disrepair so why anyone would bother swiping it the real mystery.

What events make it on your list?

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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1 thought on “Spreading Some Christmas Cheer”

  1. Drew, at least this tuba survived. Back at NEC in the 60’s, a tuba was thrown out of a dorm window. When asked why the person threw the tuba onto Gainsborough Street, they replied there weren’t any good notes left in the instrument.

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