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!