Book ’em Danno

The 01/18/06 edition of the Charlotte Observer reports that Opera Carolina has accused its former finance director, Mary Lopes, of embezzling nearly $50,000, of which Ms. Lopes reportedly used half of the funds toward a purchase at a Toyota dealership…

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Parallels Among Pension Problems

I hope everyone out there who cares about orchestras is taking the time to follow the airline industry pension crisis.  It’s been captivating to follow the recent round of Senate Finance Committee hearings which are attempting to gather information so Congress can determine how it should update pension-funding rules. In a nutshell, the problem is some of the largest corporations in the country don’t have enough money in their defined benefit …

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Why Reaching 108% Of Your Goal Isn’t Always Good

I received a call from a musician a few days ago who was very upset about a situation in their orchestra.  The frustration in this person’s voice was almost palpable, even over the telephone. The problem had to do with some contradictory evidence about ticket sales.  This particular player is currently volunteering as a musician representative to their orchestra’s marketing department and as such, they attend regular marketing committee meetings.

The musician explained that according to the information they were receiving in those meetings, the organization has been performing at 108% of their projected ticket sales.  When I pointed out that reaching 108% of your projected sales expectations was a good thing, that’s when the player almost leapt out of their skin and said “Yes, but the hall is rarely filled at more than 60%!”…

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Staring At The Crossroads In Salt Lake

Executive oversight is an issue which is high on the minds of the Utah Symphony & Opera (US&O) stakeholders. The two Salt Lake organizations officially merged at the beginning of this decade with the promise from their now CEO, Anne Ewers, that the new organization would be greater then the sum of its parts.  Prior the merger, Ms. Ewers served as the Utah Opera General Director and had built a positive …

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To Tell Or Not To Tell

In Wednesday’s edition of the Dallas Morning News there was an article about the severe financial troubles of the Richardson Symphony Orchestra.  Unfortunately, there seems to be more than enough orchestras with financial trouble these days, but what caught my attention was that the writer, Kristine Hughes, reported in one of the opening paragraphs:

“[Richardson Symphony] Chairwoman Dalene Buhl and other members said they reluctantly agreed during a meeting Monday to take their plight to the public. They said they had feared current supporters would abandon the symphony if the situation seemed hopeless but at the same time didn’t want it to fold without a fight.”

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