The League nimbly moved its annual Conference in June from on-site in Minneapolis to a virtual series of relevant presentations and discussions about the effects of COVID-19 and racism among other topics affecting orchestras. The online Conference was open to all, free of charge to members, and began in May and continued into June. The League’s Volunteer Council participated by hosting three peer-to-peer discussions on fundraising disruptions, supporting our orchestras and musicians, and utilizing technology to move forward during the pandemic.
This shared information prepared orchestras, executive directors, conductors, musicians, board members, and volunteers to respond to the pandemic and maintain our overarching goal—to get live music back on stage. The Volunteer Council will continue the dialogue this fall with a series of “Strategic Conversations” geared to help Presidents and Presidents-Elect maneuver through uncertain times. Topics will include Leadership and Board Development, Membership and Engagement, and Fundraising. These conversations will be moderated by Cindy Kidwell the incoming president of the Council. We hope your organization will be represented during these Zoom meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays in the fall. Registration is free and can be accessed online at https://www.americanorchestras.org/.
As my year as Volunteer Council President winds down, I would like to thank all the Council members for their support and tireless efforts to make this year successful in the face of so many difficulties. We say goodbye to Tiffany Ammerman (Past President), Debbie McKinney (Sustainer Liaison), and Tresa Radermacher (Conference Chair) and thank them for all they have done for the Volunteer Council for many years and especially for the advice and support they have given me this year.
Call for Gold Award Submissions!
By Bruce Colquhoun and Ginny Lundquist
Be recognized and provide inspiration to other volunteers. How? By submitting your best fundraising, education, community engagement/audience development, communications/technology, leadership/organizational structure, membership, or service projects to be considered for a Gold Award of Excellence. The Gold Award of Excellence recognizes best-in-class programs or initiatives that have made a significant impact on their orchestras. And this year, we are adding a new category for flexibility/adaptability. Submissions are due Monday, August 31, 2020. Winners will be able to share their programs with other volunteers.
If you don’t win a Gold Award, judges may decide your program deserves a Spotlight Award to acknowledge a specific tactic or best practice that contributed to the program’s overall success. Judges also have the discretion to bestow a Classic Award; this is our version of a lifetime achievement award recognizing a longstanding program that sustained excellence and delivered value over decades.
We are calling for award submissions for recognition at the 2021 Conference! Deadline is August 31, 2020. It is easy. You enter once by emailing the completed entry form and the Volunteer Council does the rest! Contact email@example.com for entry form and instructions. There is no cost to enter and you can enter multiple programs in one or more categories. Programs must have been completed by June 30, 2020, to be eligible.
Fundraising is the Gold Award of Excellence’s most popular category, highlighting creative and successful elements of fundraising projects. Fundraising projects are considered especially successful when there is a high ratio of profit to expense (i.e., at least 60% profit to 40% expense ratio).
Communication/Technology projects highlight uses of communication and technology to promote and enhance volunteer activities. These projects should demonstrate effective use of contemporary technology to bring some aspect of the orchestra to a specific population.
Community Engagement projects increase knowledge of the orchestra within the community. They have greater value when there are external partnerships between symphony staff, volunteers, musicians, etc. and/or external partnerships with other organizations within the community.
Audience Development projects should have the potential to generate an increase in season or single ticket sales and/or attract non-concert going members of the community.
Education projects bring music educational opportunities to children, youth and/or adults by various means such as camps, classes, competitions, petting zoos, etc. These projects have greater value when there are collaborations with schools and other non-profits in the community.
Membership projects are designed to recruit, retain, recognize and train orchestra volunteers. Membership projects should show an increase in membership numbers or an ability to retain current membership.
Leadership/Organizational Structure projects highlight attempts at building leadership and developing organizational structure by identifying, developing and encouraging leadership. Leadership/Organizational Structure projects should present models for successfully engaging or training your organization and its membership.
Service projects are any projects that focus on providing support or assistance to the orchestra, orchestra staff, or musicians. Service projects should showcase the unique ways you serve your orchestra and the community.
Flexibility/Adaptability is a new category this year due to the global pandemic’s impact on orchestras and volunteer organizations. Volunteers had to pivot from organizing elaborate annual galas and designer show houses to creating smaller gatherings or online events. Being flexible and adapting have been keys to success in the “new normal.”
IMPORTANT ENTRY INFORMATION
• Eligible programs/activities must have been completed by June 30, 2020.
• Entry forms are available from firstname.lastname@example.org; there is no fee to enter and no limit to the number an organization may submit.
• Completed forms must be emailed to email@example.com Deadline for submissions is August 31, 2020.
• Winners may present at the 2021 League National Conference
• Programs may be entered for any of the project categories listed above.
• Entering does not require lengthy answers; responses are designed to be concise, with maximum word counts of 100 to 400 words.
• Print out the entry form so you can review the information requested and gather it before filling out the entry form.
• If you aren’t sure your project merits a Gold Award, please consider entering. Judges may determine it worthy of a Spotlight or Classic Award.
• If you need inspiration, go online to www.goldbookonline.org for a searchable database of past winning entries.
• If you have questions or need a fillable entry form sent to you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building a Race Equity Culture in Classical Music Organizations
By Sharon Hatchett
The League of American Orchestras is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion (“EDI”), and recognizes the long-term artistic and institutional health of the nation’s orchestras depends on their ability to engage in and sustain EDI.
To that end, the League has a wealth of EDI information and resources available for our orchestras, volunteer leadership and members who, in many instances, serve on their orchestra boards, are major donors, and have an opportunity to expand their volunteer organization consistent with the EDI objectives of their orchestras.
With that in mind, the League’s Webinar entitled “Building a Race Equity Culture in Classical Music Organizations” is worth checking out. The 90-minute session was conducted (no pun intended) by Kerrien (also referred to as Kay) Suarez on February 4, 2020. Kay is an executive coach and Executive Director of Equity in the Center (equityinthecenter.org) who has a passion for classical music and was a speaker during the League’s Conference in Nashville.
So … what is Race Equity? There is a general understanding of what equity means. In the case of Race Equity, it would be “The condition where one’s race identity has no influence on how one fares in society...” Citing a health example, race equity would mean there would be no disparity, if all women regardless of backgrounds would have the same rate of challenges, including death rates, in childbirth. Because race is the biggest driver across social indicators, the matter of race was the focus of the presentation.
The speaker then goes on to describe a race equity culture, including what that means, what it looks like, and how to achieve such a culture. This includes organizations taking a look at their own organizational structure and culture.
In doing so, Kay discusses a “racial leader gap” in organizations. A term coined by the Building Movement Project (racetolead.org) whose research, per the link on the League site “debunks the myth that the lack of diversity in leadership is due to a “pipeline” program (the root cause is structural racism.)”
In discussing the need to perform racial equity work, Kay focused on the need to move away from the terms “diversity, inclusion and equity”; and reframe the focus to “awake, woke, and work”, which is generally described here:
• Diversity (or awake) means the work in the organization is focused on trying to hire people of color and, counting them once they are on board; but would not focus on the lived experience or work experience of those individuals once they become part of an organization; or for that matter the inclusion of people of color as equal members of society broadly, or equal staff and employees inside an organization.
• Inclusion (or woke) is where an organization’s focus is explicitly on retaining people of color in an organization, and building an organizational culture, with initiatives in place to ensure people of color do not just work at their organization. Instead, they are made to feel like equal members of the team, that they belong there, and that their lived experiences as people of color are equal to those of their white colleagues.
• The speaker refers to the work of the League as a great example of the difference between focusing on recruiting people of color versus retaining them using fellowships.
• She also referenced a great study by the League around use of fellowships to successfully drive diversity in organizations and the challenges of retaining diverse candidates following the term of the fellowship; noting great data on bringing on a person of color but not giving thought to what their experience is like; citing examples of musicians sitting next to someone who was very explicit and clear about the fact that they did not want the person of color there and did not consider them qualified to play among the group.
• The point of sharing this information was to emphasize the importance of not just pulling people of color into your organization; but rather to transform the organization’s culture to be inclusive of all people; and not to assume the person of color will assimilate to a white dominant culture.
• From there, the speaker addresses the steps that organizations must take to build an inclusive and equitable culture; and commented that while the discussion is centered on race because it is the biggest driver of disparities in society, it was also important to acknowledge the experiences of others, including the LGBTQ experience, gender, and people with disabilities.