Shop Talk S01E05: What Orchestras Administrators Really Need

One of the best parts of recording episodes in the evening is guests (and host) can actually imbibe. No, this doesn’t mean we’re having and Drunk episodes, but there’s no denying it helps contribute to a discussion sounding more like a group of professionals talking shop.

This ended becoming a fairly broad topic, which I think is best outlined by some of the more memorable quotes:

We all solve problems differently and I don’t know if we’re always right.

Going into the pandemic, we said that with all these creative minds on staff, if we can’t figure this out, nobody can.

At the end of the day, relevance and innovation have to be focal to us.

We have a slew of funders who want to be traditional and don’t want to find a new way of doing things so we’re beholden to them…and as long as we’re shackled to these notions, the industry can’t evolve.

Guests

Jeff Vom Saal

Jeff is the Executive Director of the Spokane Symphony & Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, a position he has held since 2016.  He is credited with infusing the organization with renewed verve, and has increased revenues from $4MM to over $6MM, an increase of over 50% in three years.  He has also spearheaded efforts to broaden the reach of the Symphony and Fox, expanding the range of concerts and events, and establishing a program for children to attend symphony performances for free. 

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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Zak Vassar

Zak is the President & CEO of the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts, which consists of the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet. Prior to his work in the arts, he was a marketing consultant, primarily for Fortune 100 firms.

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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About Shop Talk

The official podcast of Adaptistration.com, Shop Talk invites captivating guests to talk about engaging topics connected to the orchestra business.

Shop Talk Archives | Shop Talk; Last Call Archives

Publication Schedule (subject to change #obvs)

  • E01Reaching Diverse Audiences Through The Marcom Lens, Ann Marie Sorrell and Ceci Dadisman 08/18/2020
  • E02Art Has Always Been Political, Weston Sprott and Jason Haaheim 09/01/2020
  • E03Deconstructing Silos, Anwar Nasir and Scott Harrison 09/15/2020
  • E04Fostering BIPOC And Women Composers, Anne M. Guzzo, Daniel Hege, and Holly Mulcahy 09/29/2020
  • E05: What Orchestras Administrators Really Need, Zak Vassar and Jeff Vom Saal 10/13/2020
  • E06: The Need For Expertise, Mark Almond and Jason Haaheim 10/27/2020
  • E07: How To Change Your Narrative, Mark Larson and Scott Silberstein 11/10/2020
  • E08: Centering Equity, Ruby Lopez Harper and Brea M. Heidelberg 11/17/2020
  • E09: How to Create High-Quality Video Content, Bruce Kiesling and Niccolo Go 12/08/2020
  • E10: Walking Back Artistic Elitism, Kenji Bunch and Jenny Bilfield 12/22/2020
  • E11: 01/05/2020
  • E12: 01/19/2020

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.

Comments (powered by Facebook)

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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