Governing Members Orientation and Town Hall Meeting November 17, 2011

Governing Members Orientation and Town Hall Meeting
November 17, 2011

Governing members (GMs), 2 musician representatives Randy Hawes and Vicki King, DSO staff and management including President and CEO Anne Parsons and Executive Vice President Paul Hogle mingled from 7 a.m. until 8 a.m. over breakfast.

SOS/DSO Governing members in attendance were David Assemany, David Kuziemko, David Faulkner and Denise Neville. Judy Doyle was unable to attend.

Welcome and Opening Remarks:

Jan Bernick, GM Vice-Chair Philanthropy, gave the opening remarks. The Governing members concept was patterned primarily after what was done by the Chicago Symphony. Other symphonies such as Atlanta and Baltimore had influence as well. The intention of the group is to present opportunities for leadership on behalf of the DSO. Active participation is a “huge part” of the concept behind the Governing members. GMs also are voting members. The DSO’s Annual Meeting is scheduled for December 8th, 2011.

The Governing members had over 50 new members last May and added another 34 this season.

Jan asked everyone present to introduce themselves and give a brief statement regarding their connection to the DSO. While this did take some time, it became very clear that this group is comprised of enthusiastic supporters of the DSO with a long history of involvement who were glad to be there in spite of the very early start time of 7 a.m.

Introduction of GM Committees:

Several committees comprise the GMs with Arthur T. O’ Reilly serving as the Chairperson. The committees and their corresponding Vice Chairs are as follows:

Communications – Frederick (Fritz) J. Morsches Build awareness of GMs, assist with DSO website and other written materials; in development is the GM newsletter High Notes

Membership – Maureen D’Avanzo Bring new members into the fold, look for prospective hosts for future GM functions

Engagement – Bonnie Larson Offer different events and opportunities for governing members to come together

Outreach – James Farber Outreach with musicians and the community; Dave Assemany is Chair of musician outreach

Philanthropy – Janice Bernick

Governance – Mary Mansfield This will help establish ways for GMs to communicate ideas to the board possibly through quarterly town meetings, for example. Since it is new, the scope and responsibilities are still being developed.

Each Vice Chair gave brief overviews of their respective areas of responsibilities and invited GM participation on their committees.

Special Presentation by Vince Ford, DSO Digital Consultant

DSO Consultant Vince Ford also worked this past year as Executive Director for Media Development for the New York Philharmonic. He restated the goal announced at the DSO’s December 2010 Annual Meeting which is “to make the DSO the most accessible orchestra on the the planet.”

During the past year, this goal was accomplished through patron engagement, digital distribution and culture change that includes, for example, lowering the price of ticket sales, the DSO Sound Card for students, Detroit’s Rush ticket program.

Under “Digital Distribution,” the DSO accomplished the following:
1. Upgrades to the website to make it more professional, user friendly
2. New Email Program: DSO Concert Insider sends out program notes and other concert announcements via email prior to upcoming concerts.
3. DSO YouTube channel
4. Mobile phone application: DSO To Go
5. Webcasts “Live From Orchestra Hall” Latest numbers show that these webcasts have been watched by 3,000 viewers and 30 countries world-wide

Remarks by Anne Parsons:

Anne Parsons spoke briefly about the how exciting, rapidly changing and fast-paced these times are for the DSO. Along with other issues facing the DSO, she stressed that “retention and attraction of top talent is most important.”

Due to lack of time, she was unable to address questions, but promised that all questions were important and would be answered at a later time. She turned the floor over to Paul Hogle.

Breakout Discussions – Paul Hogle

Paul cited some statistics about the recent successes of the DSO: Concert attendance is up 40 percent over 2009-10 pre-strike levels; 16 percent increase in classical subscriptions; the community concerts netted 1000 subscriptions in 30 days with an 80 percent of these subscribers having no former history of subscribing.

Paul Hogle organized the tables into groups of four and assigned each table a topic to be discussed amongst the GMS who were given 15 minutes.

These topics were as follows:

Goal No. 1: Artistically & educationally vital while becoming financially viable, resulting in being vigorously celebrated
(Cultivate DSO’s artistry/sound, build music education programs, articulate blueprint for financial viability, attract and retain outstanding artistic, volunteer and executive talent, capitalize on the DSO’s existing/emerging critical acclaim)

Goal No. 2: A Community Supported Orchestra
(Engage in activities that increase the value of the DSO to Detroit and community, grow DSO patron base, become patron-centric institution)

Goal No. 3: The most accessible orchestra on the planet
(Launch neighborhood series across suburban Detroit and reach a worldwide network through media, webcasts and other digital outlets)

Goal No. 4: Playing our part as a community gathering place sounding brightly from the Woodward Corridor
(Realize vision of the Max M. Fisher Music Center and optimize Orchestra Hall)

Each table met, discussed ideas regarding these goals and then presented those ideas to the group.

The meeting adjourned on schedule at 9:30 a.m.


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