Conference Schedule

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Friday, August 10, 2018

8:30 am – 5:00 pm 
Registration/Exhibitor Marketplace Open 

9:00 – 10:30 am 
Morning Plenary: Arts and Policy

Government officials and civic leaders want to build healthy communities that are socially, educationally, and economically vibrant for their constituents, and they make policies and laws accordingly. As orchestra leaders, we believe that access to arts and music are fundamental to healthy communities. This session will explore how orchestras ensure a place at the policymaking table to advocate for the importance of government funding and support for the arts. Panelists will also discuss the impact of the current political climate on the arts in California and nationally, and share ways that you can still be effective in your job even if policymakers don’t always support funding for arts and our larger nonprofit sector.

  • Dennis Mangers, strategic advisor for arts and culture to Mayor Steinberg, City of Sacramento
  • Kristin Margolis, director of legislative affairs, California Arts Council
  • Jan Masaoka, chief executive officer, CalNonprofits
  • Mitch Menchaca, executive director, Association of California Symphony Orchestras

10:45 am – 12:00 pm 
Breakout Sessions 

A Seat at the Table: The Power of Collaborative Programming Models
In the orchestra world, the music director sets the artistic agenda, but what happens when other voices are invited into the curatorial decision-making process? In this session, we will explore collaborative programming models that invite new perspectives to the table to help accomplish a variety of goals: engage new audiences, spur innovation, expand the boundaries of the art form, and address issues of equity and inclusion in our work. This panel brings together those at the forefront of exploring how expanding the curatorial dialogue can strengthen our artistry and our organizations without devolving into “programming by committee.”

  • Scott Harrison, executive director, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
  • Maia Jasper, artist/curator

Audience Development: The Long-Haul Model -- A New Paradigm that Solves the Problems of Audience Attrition, Churn, and Aging
Over the last four seasons, after a calculated change in approach to audience development strategy, the California Symphony has dramatically grown its audience and donor base, counter to the trends for orchestras across the country. Called “The Long-Haul Model,” a disciplined focus on patron retention over the long-term has grown audiences by over 70%, increased subscription revenue (also by over 70%), and nearly quadrupled the donor base. Executive Director Aubrey Bergauer will share the details of operational implementation of the model, how the model scales to different budget sizes, why the board should care, and how you can apply this work to serve your organization.

  • Aubrey Bergauer, executive director, California Symphony

From Silence to Sustainability – The Recovery of the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera
A year after its 2013 merger, the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera had effectively ceased operations. With no performances scheduled, a depleted staff, and a few funds remaining against a massive debt, an exhausted board was left with answering the toughest question imaginable – is it time to declare bankruptcy and close forever? But the organization made the ambitious decision to continue, and through bold and imaginative focus, it not only recovered financially, but it charted a new artistic course that immersed the organization within its community. Now, just three years since the music returned, the organization has moved from instability to stability, and now to sustainability, while still expanding its artistic commitment to the Sacramento community each year. Attendance and fundraising are at all-time highs. The musicians and staff are highly engaged, and the organization is preparing for its next phase of success. This session serves as the Case Study for the Sac Phil & Opera’s recovery – risks taken, lessons learned, and successes achieved – and a learning opportunity to other organizations challenged with creating a bright, sustainable future.

  • Laurie Nelson, immediate past board chair, Sac Phil & Opera
  • Alice Sauro, executive director, Sac Phil & Opera
  • Bob Swaney, founder & CEO, Robert Swaney Consulting, Inc.

Meet the California Arts Council
This session provides a broader overview of the types of state resources (money and otherwise) that are relevant to the work of orchestras. California Arts Council (CAC) staff will provide an overview of the 2019 CAC grant programs and discuss case study/project highlights about projects by orchestras that have successfully been funded.

  • Jaren Bonillo, arts program specialist, California Arts Council


12:15 – 2:15 pm 
Awards Luncheon, Musical Moment, and Afternoon Plenary: Arts, Culture, and the Pursuit of Social Prosperity
The ACSO Awards Program recognizes remarkable individuals and organizations for their meaningful contributions to the orchestra field. The Kris Sinclair Leadership Award and the Most Valuable Player Awards are presented at the Annual Conference to honor recipients in the presence of friends and colleagues, and to encourage excellence in the entire orchestra community.

Following the awards, audience development expert Matt Lehrman offers a candid and thought-provoking examination of the changing nature of relevance and how arts and cultural leaders can guide their organizations to new foundations of significance and value. For more than 30 years Lehrman has studied, practiced, and innovated at the intersection of marketing and customer engagement in a career spanning government affairs, banking, and arts and cultural management. 

Musical Moment provided by the Sacramento Master Singers.  

Sponsored by The Alan & Susan Seidenfeld Charitable Fund

2:30 – 3:45 pm 
Breakout Sessions

Exploring Arts Education
What does arts education mean to you and your orchestra? This session will explore the what, how, and why of providing arts-based experiences and education to young people in educational and community settings. The session will explore different models of excellence and discuss issues such as funding, partnerships, and educational policy.

  • Sunshine Deffner, operations & education director, California Symphony
  • Josy Miller, arts education program specialist, California Arts Council
  • Adrienne Valencia, programs director, Arts for Learning San Diego

How the New Federal Tax Law Impacts Your Orchestra
This session reviews the operational changes nonprofits may need to make right away to comply with the new federal tax law; what orchestra leaders need to know about state and local policy changes as a result of the tax law; and the panelists' perspective on how the new federal tax law will impact fundraising activities of charitable nonprofits.

  • Jan Masaoka, president & CEO, CalNonprofits

The Joy of Fundraising
Executive directors and board chairs have limited time and competing priorities that are often times at odds with their fundraising and relationship-developing responsibilities. This session helps identify and overcome those challenges so that the orchestra leadership gains a better understanding of how to define the volunteer, artist, and staff roles in fundraising, learns how to prioritize fundraising and make it an efficient part of the daily routine, and creates a high-leverage / high-return fundraising program. This is a fun and interactive session designed for CEOs and board chairs, as well as other leadership staff and board volunteers.

  • Bob Swaney, founder & CEO, Robert Swaney Consulting, Inc.

One Big Thing: Connecting to Your Orchestra’s (Existing) Impact to Catapult you to Success!
Is your board engagement low, are donations flat or declining, is your staff at risk of being burned out, and are opportunities not being leveraged even when operational goals are met and the budget is balanced? This interactive session will show you one big thing that you can do to make a difference – and it won’t cost you anything. Experience KRM’s FastTrack process for visioning/board engagement/strategic planning/branding/revenue-generation...all rolled into one! Bring your colleagues (board, staff, and artistic personnel) and get at your organization’s core purpose, begin to create your impact vocabulary, and learn how to create momentum.

  • Kathryn R. Martin, organizational and leadership coach
  • Dean McVay, board president, San Bernardino Symphony

4:00 – 5:15 pm 
Peer Forums Redux
Continue the conversation and idea sharing that you started at Wednesday's peer forum session.

5:30 – 6:30 pm 
Overture Party with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera 
Enjoy a storybook concert presented by the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera musicians and catch up with colleagues over a glass of wine. This reception is open to all conferees.

6:30 pm 
Dinner & Sacramento Nightlife on Your Own 

8:30 - 10:00 pm 
Emerging Leaders Mixer
If you have been in the field for less than five years, come and network with your fellow emerging leaders. Create bonds and friendships that will last for the rest of your career! This reception includes light appetizers and one drink ticket.