Lemons to Lemonade

In the wake of last week’s post examining how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting arts and culture organizations, there are some instances of turning lemons into lemonade.

The 2/6/2020 edition of the Boston Globe highlights how the Boston Symphony is redirecting the time it would have been on tour in China to a series of community based events.

…players are heading out into the community for a series of pop-up chamber concerts. The full orchestra also will offer a free “Concert for Our City” at Symphony Hall Feb. 16 led by BSO youth and family concerts conductor Thomas Wilkins.

It’s good to see the administration and musicians figure out how best to make use of their time. It reminds me of the free events the Nashville Symphony organized in the wake of the massive flooding from 2010.

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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