Message from Sarah Weber, ACSO Executive Director: What We Do For Each Other

The past two weeks have likely been some of the most challenging of our personal and professional lives. Everything that we knew for certain became uncertain. Every activity we engaged in stopped. The people we saw every day are now distant. And live performance of orchestral and classical music has ceased indefinitely.

But even under these circumstances, none of you have given up. Even though every orchestra and ensemble in our membership network has had to cancel or postpone concerts, education programs, and fundraising galas, you have not quit.

As we have spoken to many of you over the past few weeks, we have heard your stories of incredible creativity and agility as you have looked for ways to move into the digital world and stay connected with your musicians and patrons. Examples of this include organizing video rehearsals for youth musicians, live-streaming concert watch parties hosted by your conductor, enlisting your musicians to make videos from their homes, posting audio and video of your concert archives on your social media, and recommending streaming performances of other orchestras. And we know you will continue to find other innovative ways to keep the music going.

You have also been leaders in your communities. We have read your empathetic and positive emails full of messages of encouragement and hope for your audiences. You are carrying on and proving that music unites and sustains us, especially during difficult times.

You are an inspiration to the ACSO board and staff and energize us in our work on your behalf.

At ACSO, it is our mission to provide leadership, resources, and support to the classical music organizations in California and the western region. We have been convening orchestra leaders virtually and on calls over the past week to learn more about how the pandemic is affecting our members. We have been sharing resources through our eNews, social media, and on our website. We are also helping our state and national partners, such as Californians for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, the League of American Orchestras, and the Performing Arts Alliance, advocate for relief funds.

We will continue to be here to support you as we have for the past 50 years. We are planning more virtual member convenings, more webinars, and more communication and resources over the coming months. We are internally discussing the future of our 2020 Annual Conference, scheduled to take place August 12-14 in Riverside, and even though we don’t have a clear path yet, no matter what happens we are committed to providing educational content and member connection for you during the month of August. We will keep you posted.

Finally, if you still need some help processing what you are feeling, may I recommend this short article from the Harvard Business Review. I have read it three times this week and it helps with every reading.

Thank you for being part of the ACSO network.

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