Billings Symphony Society

aka Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale   |   Billings, MT   |  www.billingssymphony.org

Mission

The Mission of the Billings Symphony Society is to enrich lives through music. We provide music education and performances for enjoyment, creative expression, and personal growth. Our programs nurture a passion for artistic excellence.

Ruling year info

1971

Executive Director

Mr Ignacio Barron Viela

Music Director

Anne Harrigan

Main address

2820 2nd Ave N

Billings, MT 59101 USA

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EIN

23-7083873

NTEE code info

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

Singing Choral (A6B)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

BSS is dedicated to having a well-managed, financially sound operation, receiving broad-based regional and community support, and to promoting symphonic music for new audiences including youth, rural, non-traditional and underserved groups. The Billings Symphony Society features an orchestral ensemble and a choral ensemble capable of performing all major works in the symphonic repertoire. In addition to an annual season of formal concerts, the BSS hosts seven outreach programs serving underserved and underprivileged populations of youth, families, senior citizens, and rural residents.

Population(s) Served

Explore Music! programs reach more than 25,000 children, youth and senior every year. By eliminating price and bringing our programs to audiences, the Billing Symphony reaches beyond the stage and into Billings and our surrounding communities. Five free, full symphony performances and twelve individual programs encompass Explore Music! Includes free Symphony in the Park, Musicians in the Schools, Random Acts of Music, Rural Rhythms, Senior Series.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Founded as the Billings Symphony Society in May of 1951, the organization's mission is to enrich lives through music. Today that mission remains the driving force behind the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale.

Six initiatives are focused on supporting the mission of the BSO&C. First and foremost is our programming: (1) to perform the highest quality music in the region and (2) to develop new and broader audiences through Explore Music and other outreach efforts. We are dedicated to be a community resource. However, none of this occurs in a vacuum. From there, we must (3) engage, maintain, and expand our family of supporters as well as (4) build the visibility of the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale. By growing our profile and attracting increased support, we will (5) generate adequate revenue to make BSOC's Strategic Initiatives possible. In parallel with these efforts, the organizational will grow and become more sophisticated in all aspects; thus we will (6) increase the organizational capacity.

The Billings Symphony's Explore Music! Education and Outreach Program has been in existence for over 15 years. Candy Holzer, Education Director, helps implement and oversee all of the education and outreach projects that take place each year. Candy is a retired classroom teacher and is in her 10th year with the Billings Symphony as Education Director. Our organization has developed and sustained many ongoing relationships over the years and will continue to do so. We will persist in seeking out grants and other funding resources to continue our projects both now and in the future. The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, now in its 65th season, not only provides six regular season concerts, two Nutcracker performances, a New Year's Eve concert, a Family Concert, and Symphony in the Park performance, but we also provide outreaches to many communities in the area through our Explore Music! program. Explore Music! is comprised of 15 education and outreach programs that reach beyond the stage of the Alberta Bair Theater and into the communities surrounding us. Three of these programs are Musicians in the Schools, Master Class/Clinic, and Rural Rhythms programs.

We are in the midst of a five-year plan that runs through 2019. The following is our progress to-date on the six initiatives:
(1) We have performed innovative concerts that expanded our audience. We increased musician compensation to attract more of the best musicians in the region. We have expanded performance opportunities for our Symphony Chorale. Filling all open tenured membership positions in the orchestra will require the greatest focus going forward.
(2) We now implement our education and outreach programs throughout our region, including a free orchestra concert in Sidney, MT. We find that concert programming has the greatest impact on the number of younger people in our audience, and we are exploring factors.
(3) We are working to formalize a donor stewardship program for our biggest supporters. While we are effective at donor acknowledgement, regular communications via newsletter is a challenge.
(4) We have expanded our broadcasts, including public TV and national radio programs (Performance Today). We will continue explore options for local radio broadcasts. We received media coverage regarding our education programs, strategic plan, and special initiatives (eg, our Music Director's 10th anniversary).
(5) Our budgets are based on a goal to increase revenue 5% each, and we have been successful at this. Going forward we need to do more with planned giving and major gifts.
(6) We introduced a Governance Committee, which is responsible for such items as nomination and ongoing work with Board members to ensure optimal engagement. This Committee has been refining its responsibilities.

Financials

Billings Symphony Society
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Billings Symphony Society

Board of directors
as of 10/22/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Leslie Blair

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes