Adrian Symphony’s innovative way of engaging audiences, donors

Posted on: March 4, 2011

In Thursday’s (3/3) Daily Telegram (Adrian, Michigan), Arlene Bachanov writes, “John Thomas Dodson had just become the third music director in the Adrian Symphony Orchestra’s history 10 years ago when Susan Hoffman, at the time the orchestra’s executive director, asked him a question. ‘Forget everything you know about a symphony orchestra. Assume it doesn’t work. Now what would you do?’ … So, the ASO’s new music director, Hoffman, and the staff set out to change the way the orchestra was doing business. … What makes the ASO unique, said Jessica Balboni, director of the League of American Orchestra’s Orchestra Leadership Academy, is that ‘there is such a culture of inquiry.’ … Balboni praised the Adrian Symphony’s ‘on-boarding’ model, which is a way the ASO deepens relationships between its musicians and its audience. This model involves four very different events to which donors are invited: Up Close, which features an ASO musician discussing his or her life as a musician, demonstrating the instrument, performing some music, and answering questions; On Stage, which allows people to sit in on part of a rehearsal; Coffee with the Conductor, at which guests learn more about the art of conducting from Dodson; Guest artist recitals, at which guests sit right onstage, where the musicians would normally be, and listen to the upcoming concert’s guest artist presenting a recital.” The article also includes comments from Libby Watson, Adrian’s current executive director.

Posted March 4, 2011