Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Dutch Perspective

Thanks to google we were also able to stumble on to another reaction to conference - specifically on the Social Networking Session.

Marc van Bree has some interesting thoughts on how organizations should be thinking about social networking, but in my mind, the most intersting thing is that he followed this session primarily through this conference blog and twitter. Here is his post.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Final Word About Conference 2009

Jason Nicholson:

As I'm sitting at my desk looking at the sea of brochures from fellow
orchestras, I have to say that we all do a pretty d*mn good job with the
resources we have. Especially Groups 3-8. A lot of us don't have a staff
of 10,5 or even 2. We manage to do what we do with what we have. We all
should be proud.

I've been thinking of all the Toolboxes, Perspectives, beer, Roundtable
discussions, Sessions, beer, and everything else that went on in
Chicago. When I looked at my "to do" for the day, it didn't look like a
lot, but when I got going, talking to vendors, friends (new and old),
concerts and all the sessions, it got a little crazy.

There were some sessions that I was thinking, "Really, you could've
handed out an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper and called it a day because I'm
really not getting anything out of this." But then again, the session
wasn't all about me, there are others in there might have gotten some
little nugget of enlightenment. Instead of complaining about what I'm
not learning, I needed to focus on what I could be learning. Whether it
was from Mr. or Mrs. Power Point presenter, someone from Group 8 or the
big dogs in Group 1, there is ALWAYS something you can take from all of

I grade this conference an A-. The minus simply because I wanted more
toolboxes/sessions and less morning concerts (which were awesome!). But
like I said, the conference isn't all about me.

Good luck to all my fellow orchestras on their 2009-2010 season!

Jason Nicholson
Marketing Director
Austin Symphony Orchestra

Re: Convention after thoughts

Hi All – Liz here,

The entire experience at the conference last week reminded me of two things-

1. We contribute so much value to the organizations we represent and provide a vital service that enriches lives

2. Networking with other people in like positions in other orchestras is essential to growing our own orchestra but also to keep our budgets in line. We can test theories and projects through others experiences and learn from them and adapt them to our own situations

If you have not been to a convention – try to get to one – I think you will be surprized at the depth of the experience and the fun you will have – this was my first convention and it will not be my last!

Liz Burnham
Director of Sales and Marketing
South Bend Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Other thoughts on the Conference

If you've enjoyed reading what our Conference delegates had to say about their experiences in Chicago (and we know you have!) you might also be interested in Ann Drinan's blog.

Ann is the Senior Editor at Polyphonic and she has extensive posts on her time in Chicago, you can find it all here.

Do you know about other people who were blogging in Chicago? Let us know and we'll link to them here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Random Post Mortem Musings

Post from Alan Jordan (from 35,000 feet.)

Quasi-quote: “There isn’t a mayor in this country who doesn’t come to Chicago and see this (the Pritzker Pavilion) and say, ‘man, I want on of these for my city!’”

I never thought Shostakovitch could sound like Brahms until last evening. And no one would know why his Songs of the Forest would be unfamiliar to American audiences until they read the translations. (And we still would have be in the dark had communism not died there!) Wonder where I can find a recording?

2009 conference may eventually be regarded as one of the largest group therapy sessions ever offered. One can’t help feeling a little better about our industry—and careers!

A constituency session comment re-iterated a line shared with me a long time ago from a concert hall manager in Concord, NH who passed away from cancer a few years back: the official moniker for 501(c)3s is not “non-profit,” but “not for profit.” For profit firms are obligated to their shareholders to produce results. We are obligated to the public to produce results, and those results are not necessarily—and most beneficially—financial ones.

I haven’t been sold yet on a laptop as a classical music instrument. And I wonder how percussionists will feel about seeing performance opportunities for them wrested away by pre-programmed computers? Is this much different than using a CD for Nutcracker?

I wonder if the Palmer House will find any lost delegates on Monday morning?

And now a final image; one not taken by our official conference photographer, and not at an official conference event:

Ari Solotoff (Portland, ME), Alan Jordan (Vermont), Emily Pawlak (Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA), John Gingrich (NY, NY), Joshua Worby (Westchester, NY), and Bill Capone (NY, NY) with the Chicago skyline in the background following the Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox game at Comisky Park (aka, US Cellular Field).

Enjoying America’s second favorite pastime after orchestra concerts: baseball!

Looking forward to Atlanta!

Alan Jordan
Executive Director
Vermont Symphony Orchestra

well worth the trip

John Thomas Dodson:

It occurs to me that when you look at the cost of attending the annual conference you have to ask some hard questions. CAN we pay for this and SHOULD we? For me, it was well worth the trip.

I was in a meeting yesterday with an educator planning one of our concerts for junior high and high school students for next season, and I found myself including new ideas I had gotten from the conference. As things went on, we got more and more excited – realizing that we were creating something genuinely innovative for young people. Score one for the session on Social Communities. We’ll be borrowing some ideas from that one…

A conference, or for that matter, the League itself, is as valuable as you choose to make it. Reaching out to old friends, and being open to making new ones creates not only new contacts in the field, but incredible new resources who will respond to an e mail or a phone call - helping you wrap your mind around an issue that needs more wisdom that you feel you have at the moment.

More than that though, being in Chicago helped me remember that the tough times aren’t just local and that I’m a part of something larger. It helps us belong to the entire field. It removes isolation and replaces it with community.

See you next year!

John Thomas Dodson
Music Director, Adrian Symphony
Principal Conductor, Toledo Ballet Theatre
Creative Destruction Blog:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A few words.

Posted by: Carolyn Nishon

Early flight and a forty-seven pound suitcase--massive overpack. Monroe street, please. Back-to-back-to-back in the lobby. That ceiling. Suits and heels and nametags and business cards. Itineraries and blackberries. Awkwardly staring at peoples stomachs to get a glimpse at their names. Faces to accompany phone voices. Three days will feel like three weeks. Corner Bakery. Waiting for the elevator. Getting on the wrong elevator. Getting lost in the hallways. Starbucks. Starbucks again. Friends and Fellows. Remember when. Wabash street exit umbrellas. Two trumpets sounding like one. Event and experience. Cheese and crackers and pointillism. Gin and tonics. Laughter. Lack of internet. Spirituals and bird songs, Hiawatha, bohemia, and the B9 scherzo. Standing ovations. Everyone move up closer--this should be a discussion. Cutting costs and sympathizing. Constantly asking. Questioning habit. Churn. Humanizing. Booths and pamphlets and discs and folders. 2010. 2011. 2012. 2013. Lack of sleep and blurry eyes. Seven-thirty croissants and community, rolls and relationships. Booked myself through lunch. Beyond the beyond. Bernstein and the Bean. Shaking hands and embracing arms.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A British Perspective

Mark Pemberton:
Sorry I've been so quiet but a) I've just been so busy and b) I objected to paying for internet access at the Palmer House. Now that I've re-located to the Park Hyatt for a few days of sightseeing, and have access to free wi-fi, I can give you my views on a fascinating few days.

So, highlights for me definitely include the drinks at the Art Institute. What an amazing building. And great views. Slightly embarrassed that it should be the Brits who have to be kicked out at the end of the night.

In terms of the conference, we can't avoid the fact that the state of the economy has drowned out all other topics. Which is a shame, as the conference is the opportunity to look to the future, while also sharing the problems of the present day. For this reason I gravitated towards discussion on new technology. I found today's Social Networking session interesting up to a point. But Russell Jones was spot on in his cry of "what about the dollars?". The speakers kept talking about the "new business model". But Facebook and Twitter have no business model! They have no means of generating income. So while they provide opportunities for communication and audience development, they have, I fear, limited income potential.

I enjoyed the Round Table, though found it hard to hear the speakers. If the League is going to repeat this, then, if it can afford it, booths would work better. And I know times are hard, but could they not have stretched to giving us a cup of coffee this morning?

Benchmarking for Success provided some useful information and will certainly help my organisation.

But the main benefit of attending the conference has to be the range of people you meet. Everyone is so friendly and has a story to tell.

As for Chicago - what a great city. Though all those ribs and deep dish pizzas have done nothing for my waistline.

See you in Atlanta.

Blog entry

Can it be Friday already? I just came out of a session devoted to the implications of social networking. At one level I'm sure the subject seems either just "an extra bell and whistle" or a subject too daunting to think about, but when all the smoke clears we'll remember these days as the beginning of a new approach to working together. Ripples of this session will show up in future master agreements and even in the way we view content ownership. It will mean opening ourselves up to audience-generated content after a concert (including the freedom to lose control of comments). I hope we get this right soon enough to be here to reap the benefits. It will mean a lot of new thinking from everyone involved and a significant cultural change across the field. I loved the open-ended qualities of this session. No one knows exactly where we're going, but we DO know that the old models won't be sufficient anymore. Opportunity knocks!

League Staff

The League Staff has done such a good job this conference. Melanie Thibeault is awesome! Thank you Melanie for all your help and support! You made this easy for me. Major Props! Thank you Jim Holt for setting up this blog!
I have one more blog in me that I'll save for later!