Back to News & Events

News & Events Archive

Update on Members Affected by Wildfires and Helpful Resources

Monday, December 18, 2017

We send our thoughts and prayers to our members affected by the wildfires in Southern California (Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles Counties). We will update this feed as we learn more from our members. Also, we will share resources with those in need and ways you can help.

Santa Barbara Symophony

We have been dealing with the Thomas Fire and a significant chunk of the city of Santa Barbara entered into voluntary evacuation yesterday. This area included the Symphony office. While the air is much better today they do not anticipate lifting any evacuations until after we get hit with another wind event on Wednesday. The office is in the heart of downtown and they do not believe their will be any more problems tomorrow as the fire crew is working around the clock to get things in order in the hills.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ojai Music Festival

"First, many thanks to those of you who have reached out to us during these last 48 hours. I am very happy to report that all the staff is safe, and there was no damage to their homes or to our office.

Our Ojai and Ventura County communities are experiencing loss and devastation from the Thomas Fire. Our thoughts are with all of our Ojai area neighbors, and with those who are tirelessly serving and supporting the affected communities.

Due to the unpredictability of the fires and still potentially dangerous situation, the Festival office is closed. We aim to resume normal business hours on Monday, December 11."

New West Symphony

"Our community is in crisis, with fires blazing throughout Ventura County. In particular, the schools and families, with whom we have grown so close through The New West Symphony Harmony Project of Ventura County, have been hit particularly hard. Our Harmony Project office in Ventura is closed, but our Thousand Oaks office remains open, and if there is any way we can help, please call us at 805.497.5800. We are sending love and prayers to all our friends and community members whose homes are threatened or lost."

Other Members

We have heard from Conejo Vally Youth Orchestra, Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, and Werth-It Consulting that their staff and board members are currently safe.

Resources for those Affected

ArtsReady
ArtsReady is your cultural organization’s online source for readiness resources, and a web application that can make disaster planning easy.

IRS (the IRS on providing disaster relief to affected employees)


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sending our thoughts and prayers to our members affected by the wildfires in Northern California. Here is some information shared by members in Northern California. Also find resources to share with those in need and ways you can help.

Santa Rosa Symphony

Unfortunately the North Bay/Santa Rosa firestorm is and remains a very serious and fluid situation.

Staff-wise and musicians, everyone is safe though many have had to evacuate, as have I, to safer areas, waiting to hear about our homes. We are tremendously saddened that at least one staff member, a musician and several board members have lost their homes.
Our offices remain closed as our phone system and internet remain down, so I am emailing you remotely.

So deeply sorry that I had to cancel the Monday night concert. Fortunately we were able to communicate cancellation to musicians and help those who needed to get back into the Green Music Center to get their instruments. GMC is safe from fire. Thankfully guest conductor and our soloist Joyce Yang were safely taken to SF. The Luther Burbank Center, our other venue, has been damaged but I understand the main hall remains intact.

So in all honesty it is a surreal situation still unfolding. Grateful for the outpouring of support.

Eventually we will come together and persevere. Until then we are looking to take care of each other.

Alan Silow, president & CEO
Santa Rosa Symphony

Music in the Mountains

Due to Cal Fire needing to set up a command post and fire camp at the Nevada County Fairgrounds for the Lobo Fire, Friday night's concert "Brahms First Symphony" has moved to the Don Baggett Theatre @ Nevada Union High School, 11761 Ridge Rd, Nevada City. Advance tickets will be honored.

Napa Valley Performing Arts Center, Lincoln Theatre

Our thoughts are with the Napa Valley and surrounding communities as we continue to experience wildfires. We have received a number of inquiries and want to update everyone - Lincoln Theater has been fortunate and has not sustained any damage. However, our hearts go out to those who have been affected across many North Bay counties.

Napa Valley Youth Symphony

With the continued unpredictability of the fire situation, we will be cancelling this Sunday's scheduled concert. Everyone take care of yourself and we'll make music together soon.

Advocacy Alert: Tax Bills and California Orchestras

New Tax Bills Could Jeopardize Orchestras

To pass tax reform before year-end, both the House and Senate recently passed separate but similar tax bills. Unfortunately, both versions of the tax bill would have a negative impact on charitable giving.

Because both the House and Senate tax bills propose doubling the standard deduction, access to specific incentives for income tax deductions of gifts to charity become severely limited to only the top five percent of taxpayers who itemize their deductions. The charitable sector had actively supported the idea of a Universal Charitable Deduction so that the incentive to give to charities would be available to both itemizers and non-itemizers. However, Universal Charitable Deduction proposals offered by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and James Lankford (R-OK) never made it into the final bill nor were given an opportunity for a floor vote.

Unfortunately, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that charities, including nonprofit arts organizations, could see a staggering loss of up to $20 billion annually as a result of this tax policy change.

Because the House and Senate passed bills that are not the same, they now need to work out these differences. So tax reform is not over yet. That means there is still time to act.

The simplest and best way is to telephone your Congressmember and Senators.

  1. Call the Capitol switchboard (202-224-3121) and follow the prompts to be connected with the office where you want to leave a message. It will take about two-minutes.
  2. To find out who your Congressmember is, click here and input your orchestra's (or your) zip code. To contact Senators Feinstein and Harris, click here.
  3. Once connected, identify yourself as a someone who lives and/or works in their district and let them know you oppose the tax bill.

You can see a detailed comparison of the House and Senate bills here.

2018 Annual Conference Call for Sessions

We want to hear your ideas! ACSO invites you and your colleagues to submit conference breakout sessions. This three-day convening is planned around your needs and in response to industry challenges and trends. It is designed to focus on skill-building and to facilitate collaboration, exploration, and connections on multiple levels.

Visit our Call for Session Submission Form to submit your ideas; anything from fully planned sessions to just sending along a speaker suggestion.

Questions? Contact us at office@acso.org or at 800-495-2276. Submissions are due Friday, December 15, 2017.

ACSO Communities in Crisis Concert Fund

The ACSO Communities in Crisis Concert Fund has been established to support communities throughout the state and region that have been affected by natural disasters and other tragedies and are coming together to heal through the power of music.

The purpose is to provide our members with funds to help offset the production costs associated with special relief concerts that they are staging to bring the community they serve closer and cope with the significant crisis they are facing.

Our inaugural efforts go to support our members in the North Bay Area affected by wildfires, including the Santa Rosa Symphony's November 20 Community Concert. The concert will be free to the public and all proceeds will go to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund.

Learn more and donate at www.acso.org/concertfund

Upcoming Fire Relief Concerts:

Sunday, November 19, at 7:30 PM
San Francisco Symphony
Davies Symphony Hall, 201 N Van Ness, San Francisco
(415) 864-6000
http://www.sfsymphony.org/Buy-Tickets/2017-18/Symphony-Relief.aspx

In response to the devastating Northern California wildfires last month, the San Francisco Symphony is proud to present Symphony Relief: A Benefit Concert for the North Bay. This special event—featuring Michael Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony and SF Symphony Chorus, along with a special lineup of guest stars—showcases a program of iconic works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Copland, and more.

The SF Symphony family is dedicated to helping our neighbors to the north. Michael Tilson Thomas, the SF Symphony musicians, the Chorus, special guests, and the stage crew, ushers, and Box Office staff are proud to donate their services on a volunteer basis, with all proceeds benefitting the North Bay Fire Relief Fund and the Sonoma County Resilience Fund.


Monday, November 20, at 7:30 PM
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center
(707) 546-8742
Tickets not available online

Responding to the enormous need in the community it has been a part of for 90 years, the Santa Rosa Symphony, with support from Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center, will present a Free Fire Relief Benefit Concert on Monday, November 20, 2017 at 7:30 pm.

Conductor Emeritus Corrick Brown joins Music Director Bruno Ferrandis for this special event, which will also feature Conductor Laureate Jeffrey Kahane playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The program also includes Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Eglar’s “Nimrod” from Enigma Variations and Beethoven’s highly-praised Symphony No. 3, Eroica.

Donations collected at ticket reservation and at the concert support Redwood Credit Union’s North Bay Fire Relief Fund, Community Foundation Sonoma County's Sonoma County Resilience Fund and Sonoma State University’s Noma Gives (which supports affected students, staff and faculty). The Symphony thanks the orchestra, conductors, ushers and stage crew for donating their time and talent.

Please join the Symphony on November 20 in Weill Hall, Green Music Center, for an evening shared with good friends, good will, heartfelt giving and excellent music. We are, indeed, stronger together. #SonomaStrong

Admission to this benefit concert is free (2 tickets per household), though requested donations are accepted at time of reservation and at the concert. Lobby opens at 6:30 pm.

ADVOCACY ALERT: Congress Tax Reform Bill Impacts Charities

Republican leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee pushed through the release of their official tax reform bill H.R. 1 in Congress today to overhaul the American federal income tax system. While it will take several days to fully analyze this 429-page bill and its potential impact on charitable giving, nonprofit organizations and professional artists, we encourage you to continue checking this page frequently as we post updates and further analysis.

Topline Proposed Change:
The charitable deduction is severely compromised by limiting the charitable tax deduction to only the highest income taxpayers. 

The Solution:
Encourage your Senators and House members to include a “universal charitable deduction” to the tax reform bill so that all taxpayers (not just the highest income individuals) are encouraged to give to their favorite charities and make the contributions a tax-deductible gift.

ACSO is a member of the Arts Action Fund. Click here to learn more about this issue.
 

 

 

ACSO Launches New Professional Development and Discussion Forums

ACSO is excited to launch new Professional Development and Discussion Forums.

These regional forums combine educational experiences with peer networking during an informative 45-60 minute workshop or roundtable at a low cost for attendees. They will also capture your ideas, thoughts, and opinions on how ACSO can better serve you, our membership, through a consultant-led discussion as part of our strategic planning process, which will help shape the future direction of the association.

ACSO will present four forums at locations spread around the state, and one online session for those who cannot attend an in-person convening.

Locations

November 3 - San Luis Obispo
11:00AM-1:00PM

November 8 - Pasadena
6:00PM-8:00PM

November 16 - Irvine
1:00PM-3:00PM

November 17 - Walnut Creek
12:00PM-2:30PM

November 20 - Online
2:00PM-3:00PM

All members and prospective members are invited to attend. Registration is now open and the registration fee is $20 for members and $30 for non-members for each in-person forum (fee includes professional development offering, networking and listening session, and refreshments).

Click here to learn more about each session and to register!

October is Arts and Humanities Month

ACSO joins thousands of arts organizations and communities across the nation to celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month. We dedicate this month’s California Concerts to the celebration. This month’s listing showcases 84 concerts and represents members in 25 California counties, as well as members in Arizona and Nevada! How are you celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month?

Learn more about National Arts and Humanities Month at www.americansforthearts.org/NAHM

ACSO Strategic Planning Consultant RFP

The Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) has begun the process to draft a new strategic plan.

The ACSO Board and Staff have already completed Phase 1 of a three-phase strategic planning project. This RFP is to employ services to lead the organization through Phase 2 and 3 over a six-month time period.

Phase 1 (completed March – August 2017): Setting a Framework
Board discussion to outline vision and goals for strategic planning process (see Core Objectives section below). Board committee formed and project timeline established.

Phase 2 (September – December 2017): Data Gathering & Analysis
Gain a better understanding of the current needs of our members – or potential members – through quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative data gathering through member-wide survey, engaging all stakeholders (see Target Audiences & Stakeholders section below). Qualitative data gathering through statewide “listening tour,” i.e. professional development workshops with a facilitator-led discussion forum component.

Phase 3 (December 2017 – January 2018): Strategizing & Detailed Planning
Findings and themes from data presented to committee. Full board discussion and planning at January convening. Plan to be finalized by committee by March 1 for presentation to the full board at the March board meeting.

How to Apply?
Please download the full RFP to read the full scope of the project and how to apply.

Proposals are due by Friday, August 18, 2017 at 5:00PM PST.

Upcoming Webinar: Avoiding the Iceberg

Thursday October 5, 2017 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Don’t let the tip of the iceberg become your organization’s Titanic – instead, understand and be able to identify whether your business is Healthy, at a Crossroads, in Conflict or has a full-blown Crisis. Over 90% of all organizations can be saved and taught to prosper despite the size of the organization, condition of the economy or its competition. Explore real-life examples of how to minimize challenges and maximize opportunities for revitalization. Join Paul Jan Zdunek, managing director of BDO and ACSO board member for this hour webinar. This webinar is only promoted by ACSO and solely produced by BDO USA.

Webinar Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the health of an organization
  • Understand and identify the signs of a looming crisis
  • Learn how to avoid your organization’s version of the Titanic
  • Learn about real-life case studies and the consequences of ignoring tell-tale signs

Click here for more information or to register for this webinar.

 

Thank You! 2017 Annual Conference

Thank you to those who attended the 2017 ACSO Annual Conference in Los Angeles on July 20-22! We hope that you found the conference rewarding, had a chance to connect with your colleagues, and came away recharged and ready to help lead your organization to greatness during the next season.

This year the Annual Conference was hosted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in conjunction with the Take a Stand Symposium, which brought together leaders, teachers, and key stakeholders from around the world with a vested interest in the El Sistema movement and progressive practices in music education. Joint keynote presenters included Gustavo Dudamel, music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Thomas Wilkins, principal conductor of the Hollywood Bowl; and Gail Samuel, acting president & CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Conference included two general plenary sessions, including addresses by Salvador Acevedo, vice president of cultural strategy at Scancion, on interculturalism, and a panel on the state of the arts in Los Angeles, moderated by Gail Eichenthal, chief engagement officer, KUSC Group, with panelists Rachel Fine, managing director, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts; Grant Gershon, artistic director, Los Angeles Master Chorale; Chad Smith, chief operating officer, Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Lora Unger, chief executive officer, Pasadena Symphony and POPS.

The inaugural Kris Sinclair Leadership Award was presented to the Community Women's Orchestra. The Kris Sinclair Leadership Award is given to an ACSO member organization that demonstrates impactful leadership initiatives, which advance the goals of the organization, including, but not limited to, finance, governance, staff development, audience development, education, and community engagement. Also, given at the conference were the annual MVP award, which are designed to give recognition to a few of the hundreds of dedicated, hardworking, and committed volunteers that orchestras depend on every day. Winners included Mary Jane Cooper of the Santa Barbara Symphony, Pat and Sandy Gage of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Pat Hager of the Mill Valley Philharmonic, David Hamilton of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Ronda Latham of the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra, Becky Novy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Affiliates, Joseph Svehla of the Pacific Symphony, and Judith Valles of the San Bernardino Symphony.

Over twenty breakout sessions were presented on topics around orchestra management, including governance, marketing, fundraising, and advocacy. Session highlights included:

Telling Your Story: Making the Case to Individual Donors, Corporations and Foundations
Make your best case to individual donors, corporations, and foundations. Too often, arts non-profits make the mistake of approaching donors from a position of weakness, using a crisis as leverage to secure gifts. In this session, we’ll give you the framework and tools for telling the kind of compelling story that will get supporters on board for the long term and make them want to invest in your organization.
• John Mangum, president & artistic director, Philharmonic Society of Orange County
• Aashika Patel, vice president, CCS Fundraising
• Julia Ward, director of development communications and strategy, Los Angeles Philharmonic

Social Media: What is Our Goal and What Should We Share?
Is your orchestra struggling to keep up with the various social media outlets? Do you need help strategizing your content and identify what social media sites to use? Join these marketing and communication professionals to help you shape your social media goals and assist in creating a plan of what to share and where to share it.
• Patrick Brown, director of marketing, Los Angeles Master Chorale
• Sasha Hnatkovich, communications manager, Kronos Quartet
• Brian Lauritzen, producer/host, Classical KUSC

The Executive's Role in Board Governance
Join Arts Consulting Group Vice President Shawn Ingram as he moderates a discussion about the executive director/CEO’s role in encouraging and sustaining strong board governance. Bring your thoughts, ideas, and issues as stories will be shared, solutions will be offered, and questions will be answered.
• Paul Ideker, executive director, Redlands Symphony
• Kevin Marvin, executive director, Santa Barbara Symphony
• Don Nelson, executive director, Stockton Symphony
• Shawn Ingram, vice president, Arts Consulting Group (moderator)

We collaborated with the League of American Orchestra's Essentials of Orchestra Management Program. This immersive ten-day program, hosted by USC, prepares orchestra professionals with the tools they need to be effective administrators and leaders. The curriculum explores the fundamentals of orchestra management; the changing nature of orchestras and new values, roles, and practices that are emerging as orchestras evolve. The ACSO conference included sessions on education and community engagement, presented by Jennifer Barlament, executive director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Simon Woods, president & CEO of the Seattle Symphony. Jesse Rosen, president & CEO of the League of American Orchestras, welcomed conferees and discsussed upcoming advocacy issues happening at the national level.

It wouldn't be an ACSO conference without music, and conferees were treated to a performance by a string quartet from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at this year's annual meeting. Conferees also attended a concert at the Hollywood Bowl in which the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale performed stirring choral and instrumental selections from Wagner’s mythic music dramas: Tristan und Isolde, Tannhäuser, The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin, and Die Meistersinger.

For questions about the 2017 Annual Conference, please contact us at 800-495-2276 or conference@acso.org. Also, check out the conference website at www.acso.org/conference.

Join us next year in Sacramento for the 2018 Annual Conference - August 9-11!