Toledo Symphony—Meeting Music
Musicians from the Toledo Symphony perform at board meetings
The idea came during the Toledo Symphony’s 2000-01 season, when previous Board Chairman Joe Magliochetti—at that time, the chairman and CEO of Dana Corporation—began inviting musicians to perform at board meetings. His pattern became infectious to the point of tradition, and has since become a regular occurrence at every quarterly board meeting. The short performance takes advantage of the intimacy of the setting, closing the distance between orchestra and board and creating an important connection between the two.
How it works:
Chamber music is the obvious choice for this setting, due to room size constraints. Smaller ensembles also provide the opportunity to feature new members of the orchestra, or feature unique ties found within the full orchestra. Recently, Principal Percussionist Naomi Guy and Assistant Concertmaster Gabe Sobieski—who are married—performed at the board meeting together. Sometimes, the music selections are a reduced version of the current orchestral repertoire. At a recent meeting, instead of performing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, a transcription of a Chopin Nocturne was used with solo violin and piano as a tribute to the retiring board chairman, Richard Anderson. The size of ensemble has spanned solo artists to a sextet, and has represented all families of the orchestra, including percussion, brass, woodwinds, and strings. When the meeting’s agenda is distributed to the trustees, the names of the performing musicians appear first on the information packet, and include brief biographies. Having already helped to select the music and musicians, the president typically introduces the musicians, who subsequently introduce the music. The musicians, always happy to perform, also use the opportunity to stress their individual importance to the aggregate success of the orchestra—a point never lost on the trustees.
The board’s appreciation:
Because the performances occur at the start of every meeting and only consume 10-12 minutes, they never battle for time with the regularly scheduled topics. The extra few minutes are more than worth their artistic merit, sometimes bringing board members to tears. One trustee noted that Mozart was the perfect break after a strenuous day at work. Toledo Symphony musicians provide lessons to underprivileged children who would otherwise be unable to study music. At one point, the children were able to perform for one of the board meetings, giving them a rare opportunity to stand in front of an audience and perform music.
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