Some Encouraging Words

Bruce Ridge, North Carolina Symphony Bassist and Chairman of the International Conference of Symphony (ICSOM), testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor in Washington D.C. on a hearing about the economic and employment impact of the arts and music industry on March 26, 2009. In a positive sign of our tax dollars at work, the committee has made available a video of Ridge’s address…

At least some politicians on Capitol Hill are listening.
At least someone on Capitol Hill is listening.

In a related item, The Associated Press published an article by Jim Abrams which reports on Ridge’s testimony along with similar statements from representatives of Americans for the Arts, The Creative Coalition, and Utah Shakespearean Festival. For more information about The Education and Labor Committee and their mission, growing and strengthening America’s middle class, visit their website at

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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2 thoughts on “Some Encouraging Words”

  1. Thanks for posting this Drew. I’d read some of Ridge’s comments and I thought he was very articulate about the current arts crisis.

    Musicians are the best donors of the arts…music is the country’s 2nd largest export…all very interesting, valuable points.

  2. I agree, the donor comment was particularly apt. Bruce was likely thinking of being a donor via concessions but I know of other instances where player associations have given cash donations directly from their own coffers. In Seattle, the SSO musicians have donated six figures (I forget the exact amount off the top of my head).

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