A Tale Of Two Everetts

Apparently displeased with the decision from earlier this season to go dark, it seems as though the musicians from the Everett Symphony Orchestra have taken the adage “if you want something done right, do It yourself” to heart. At the same time, the musician driven initiative has brought on board a local arts manager, current Tacoma Youth Symphony executive director Loma Cobbs, to run the new performing arts organization…

According to an article by Theresa Goffredo in the February 20, 2010 edition of the HeraldNet, the youth symphony’s budget is around $600,000. As it turns out, this is almost the same as the annual expenses reported by the now dark Everett Symphony Orchestra in their latest available IRS Form 990. So far the new orchestra, the Everett Philharmonic, has launched a website, is in the process of securing a regular performance venue and is planning a spring gala concert event.

Goffredo’s article includes comments from the Everett Symphony Orchestra’s chief executive officer, Roger Pawley, about the new ensemble and it appears as though he believes the Everett Phil will be short lived.

“Our position is that musicians need to perform and, during our hiatus, this might be a good short-term solution for that,” Pawley said.

Naturally, if the Everett Phil is able to develop a sustainable business model and gains the backing of a lion’s share of the musicians and patrons, it could certainly be in a strong position to replace the Everett Symphony Orchestra. Consequently, it will be interesting to return to this north Seattle community next season to see if one group will acquiesce to the other if it becomes clear that the other is clearly better suited at fulfilling community need.

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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