Shop Talk S02E01: Navigating COVID Era Agreements

Season 2 comes out of the gate at full speed and my captivating guests include a group of stakeholders from the Toledo Symphony Orchestra who were brave enough to talk about one of my absolute favorite topics: contracts. More to the point we talked about how this orchestra went about navigating the waters of COVID era agreements.

We all know about the organizations that decided to shut down and force as many concessions as possible from musician stakeholders while shedding nearly all of their staff. Worse, are the orchestras where the executive leadership decided to go to labor war. On the other side of that coin are groups like Toledo that made the decision to honor the financial commitments to musicians. What they discovered is that commitment made all of the ensuing negotiations better.

Having stayed in the game for the last year, they discovered just how important the continued bond with the community, which is helping them pick up steam that much sooner. At the core of this was a decision not to use clauses or force majeure to force solution. I spent an hour talking to the TSO’s board chair, CEO, orchestra manager and the orchestra committee chair and another member. It was a candid, enlightening, and uplifting conversation.

It is a fascinating discussion that just flew by. Here are a few highlights:

It was a wildly collaborative process. - Shop Talk S02E01: Navigating COVID Era Agreements Click to Tweet
Having the support of honoring our contracts through the end of the (20/21) season made the ensuing conversations better. - Shop Talk S02E01: Navigating COVID Era Agreements Click to Tweet
Concessions were always within the context of begin offered 100% of our pay…it turned discussions from can we do this to how do we do this. - Shop Talk S02E01: Navigating COVID Era Agreements Click to Tweet

Guests

Pat Bowe

Pat serve as the President and CEO of The Andersons, a diversified company rooted in agriculture that conducts business across North America in the grain, ethanol, plant nutrient and rail sectors. The Andersons grows enduring relationships through extraordinary service, a deep knowledge of the market and a knack for finding new ways to add value as they have done for 70 years.

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.

Amy Heritage

B.M. in Music Therapy from Shenandoah University, M.M. and D.M. in Flute Performance from Indiana University.

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.

Keith McWatters

TSO Member Since 1980.

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.

Elizabeth Rice

TSO cellist Elizabeth Rice joined the Toledo Symphony cello section in 2018, and one of her first performances with our orchestra was Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music – CCM, Elizabeth received both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Cello Performance while studying with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra cellist Alan Rafferty. She has also studied with Hans Jensen at the Meadowmount School Of Music, and has received recognition in competitions as both a solo and chamber musician.
When not playing cello, Elizabeth enjoys being outdoors, petting dogs, and baking, and dreams of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

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.

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.


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: Changing 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: Being A Content Creator Before It Was Cool, Jeff Curnow 01/05/2021
  • E12: The Commercial Life, Ceci Dadisman and Marc van Bree 01/19/2021
  • E13: Composers In Academia, David MacDonald and Sam Merciers 2/2/2021
  • E14: Musician Injuries Could Soar After COVID: Artistic Decision Makers Perspective, Jennifer Arnold and Tito Muñoz 3/9/2021
  • E15: Musician Injuries Could Soar After COVID: Musician Perspective, Jon Bowen, Catherine Chen, and Yumi Hwang-Williams 3/23/2021
  • E16: Academia/Pro Divide: Eric Esparza and Michael Lewanski

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.

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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Shop Talk S02E01: Navigating COVID Era Agreements

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