Arts, Culture, and Humanities
The West Michigan Symphony is recognized for musical passion and excellence, engaging our communities through innovation and education to inspire and enrich lives.
Ms. Carla Hill
Mr. Scott Speck
360 W Western Ave 2nd floor
Muskegon, MI 49440 USA
symphony, musical community outreach, classical music, quality of life, arts, culture
Symphony Orchestras (A69)
Arts Education/Schools (A25)
IRS Filing Requirement
This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.
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What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
The core product of WMS is a subscription series of eight concerts (five classical and three pops), presented in the beautiful, historic Frauenthal Theater centrally located in downtown Muskegon. Built in 1929, the 1750 seat theater has recently undergone a tax-supported $7.5 million renovation that restored it to its original Spanish Renaissance splendor while also creating a spacious modern lobby linking the Frauenthal with the adjacent 180-seat Beardsley Theatre. The renovation also included bringing the lighting and rigging systems and orchestra pit in the Frauenthal up to modern standards. The facility is fully accessible to people with disabilities and has numerous wheelchair seating options and an elevator to the downstairs restrooms, as well as an infrared sound system for the hearing impaired. The Frauenthal is located at the intersection of Western Avenue and Third Street in Muskegon, in an area being completely rebuilt after the demolition of an aging shopping mall. This period of renaissance will begin to bring a lively mix of housing, retail and restaurants to the area and the WMS at the Frauenthal will be a key player in the vitality and life in the center of the city.
The Classical Series is programmed to feature traditional orchestral repertoire and also to introduce newer works of music. In a recent survey, our audience requested more traditional and familiar works in the coming season. We responded to this request and now featured more familiar classical repertoire as well as newer works
Guest artists for the classical series have attained international reputations or are just beginning their solo careers. Pianist Per Tengstrand, Cellist Alexandre Bouzlov, and violinist Vadim Gluzman have performed with international orchestras that include the Orchestre National de France, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra respectively; Naoko Takada, marimba, is beginning her career as a Young Artist after winning first prize in the Young Concert Artist International Audition; and the WSSO?s own principal clarinet, Jonathan Holden.
Our Pops Series is programmed to please every musical palate with the music and stars from the opera and Broadway stages. In the 2007-08 series, we are thrilled to present Jodi Benson, the voice of the Little Mermaid, for a concert of music that will appeal to all ages.
Where we workNew!
Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
How will they know if they are making progress?
What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
The West Michigan Symphony (WMS) would like to be recognized as the premiere music resource in West Michigan. With a mission to inspire generations through music, in 10 years we would like to achieve top of mind awareness in our community as a place to go for quality entertainment and educational experiences in music.
We would like to continue to find new ways to reach out to under served populations and continue to grow the organization as a whole, providing jobs and positively impacting Muskegon's downtown business district.
West Michigan Symphony (WMS) will continue to produce eight annual symphonic concerts per season comprised of five masterworks and three pops programs. These concerts are delivered by professional musicians of the highest caliber playing a challenging and diverse repertoire. We believe quality live arts performances enhance the quality of life in our community and assist in its growth and sustainability.
These musical offerings will include classic repertoire but will also feature new works commissioned especially for the symphony and premiered at our concerts.
WMS also plans to continue to host a variety of guest artists each season, making accessible to our community opportunities to experience unparalleled excellence in musicianship with ticket prices that remain accessible to our community.
WMS will also continue to support and grow our music education programs for young people in order to expose younger generations to classical music. These programs include the Instrument Petting Zoo, which is toured to area schools and community buildings and Carnegie Hall's Link UP music instruction program which serves over 50 area schools and culminates with a day of performances where over 4000 children are invited to play recorders along with our orchestra. Also associated with LinkUp is the Music Mentor program, designed by WMS to augment LinkUp and provide additional year long classroom instruction by professional musicians to participating local school children and their teachers.
Finally, WMS will continue to be a staple in downtown Muskegon, as it has for over 75 years. Through economic good times and bad, WMS has remained a constant in the community; providing jobs and a strong presence in the downtown area as a destination for quality entertainment.
West Michigan Symphony (WMS) has over three-quarters of a century of experience in creating and curating symphonic concerts. Over time we have had to adapt to changing circumstances, economically, logistically, and artistically but we have withstood the test of time and have remained strong.
This excellence in music could not happen without a premiere Music Director at the helm. Conductor Scott Speck's professional expertise and credentials provide direction to the organization to ensure the programs we present meet and exceed the highest standards of musicianship.
Music Director Scott Speck and President/CEO Carla Hill work together to select a mix of performances that will appeal to a wide range of audiences, Speck and Hill also look for opportunities for WMS musicians to play exciting and challenging works and to attract guest artists of the highest artistic level.
WMS has a professional staff that collectively holds extensive professional experience in management, marketing, graphic design, patron services, development, education and production and is well qualified to create and implement the appropriate plans of the WMS.
The members of the board of directors also assist in meeting financial goals and are chosen to be representative of the community and are able to provide valued expertise and oversight.
A quarterly review of the strategic plan provides the opportunity to bring together the entire staff and discuss strategic initiatives, share updates of departmental progress and lessons learned, and determine if changes should be made to reach set goals.
Some of the goals include growth of mail and email lists, increased social media engagement, single and season ticket sales goals, corporate and individual donations,
Progress on artistic merit can be tracked by survey feedback from our patrons, social media engagement, and artistic staff planning and feedback.
Two years ago WMS made the tough decision to adjust its regular concert season programming to single concerts, reducing the number of performances seasonally by 50%. This adjustment was made for financial considerations and the impact was favorable although communications challenges still exist. Shortly after this change a marketing director was brought on staff to improve the overall messaging of the organization. Now having completed our second season of single concerts the new messaging is beginning to gain traction and our audiences are clearly becoming re-engaged and awareness of the symphony and our seasonal programming is increasing.
As newspaper coverage become less and less available, we are focusing our energies on finding news ways to reach out to audiences in the digital arena. This type of marketing allows us to share information not only in print, but also in audio and visual format. We are working towards making our website more easily editable and mobile friendly and including more audio samples of our orchestra, guest artists, and upcoming programming.
WMS continues to reach out the the community by donating complimentary tickets to Muskegon promise schools and area non-profit organizations who seek donations for fundraising events. WMS also continues to provide the Carnegie Hall Link Up children's recorder program free of charge to over 50 area schools.
While we recognize the challenges inherent in ensuring symphonic music remains a part of the cultural landscape of our community; we find value in reaching out to youth to introduce classical music early, building a foundation of music appreciation and will have long-term positive gains.
West Michigan Symphony Orchestra
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.
as of 6/8/2017
Mr. Peter Brown
CPA, MST Principal
VP Engineering - Retired
Teledyne Continental Motors
Financial Executive - Retired
GTE and Verizon
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
Ladas Hoopes McNeill Law Office
Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
Senior Vice President
Senior Vice President
Northern Trust Company
Smith, Haughey, Rice & Roegge
Gary Nelund Insurance Agency Inc.
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
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?
Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?
Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?