West Michigan Symphony

aka West Michigan Symphony Orchestra   |   Muskegon, MI   |  www.westmichigansymphony.org

Mission

The West Michigan Symphony is recognized for musical passion and excellence, engaging our communities through innovation and education to inspire and enrich lives.

Ruling year info

1944

Executive Director

Mr Andrew Buelow

Main address

360 W Western Ave 2nd floor

Muskegon, MI 49440 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

West Shore Symphony

EIN

38-6092131

NTEE code info

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

IRS filing requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

This profile needs more info.

If it is your nonprofit, add a problem overview.

Login and update

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?

Subscription Concerts

8 subscription concerts

Population(s) Served
Adults

Link Up, the acclaimed national music education program of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, pairs the orchestra with 3rd, 4th or 5th grade classes in local schools. Students learn to read music and play recorder through a yearlong, hands-on curriculum. WMS sends musicians—a combined 80 visits this season—into the schools as “Music Mentors” to prepare them for attending the symphony. The program culminates in April at the Frauenthal Theater, when over 4,000 students from 54 schools in five counties play recorders live in concert along with the WMS. The entire theater fills to the brim with teachers and students for three back-to-back performances. This leaves little room for parents who want to share their children’s transformative first encounter with the symphony. To address this, WMS will add an evening performance outside of the normal school day next season for parents, families and the public

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

We are deeply committed to building the audience of the future through musical encounters for toddlers, students and young adults—offered free or at very low cost. Now in its 6th year, the WMS Children’s Choir provides training and performance experience to school-aged children throughout West Michigan (audio video). The choir rehearses weekly during the school year and performs regularly with WMS and in stand-alone concerts.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

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.

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 Executive Director Andrew Buelow work together to select a mix of performances that will appeal to a wide range of audiences, Speck and Buelow 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.

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.

Financials

West Michigan Symphony
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

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

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

West Michigan Symphony

Board of directors
as of 5/19/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr Paul Jackson

Warner Norcross + Judd

Term: 2018 - 2021

Michael Olthoff

Nichols

Peter Brown

Teledyne Continental Motors

Jan Deur

GTE and Verizon

Kimberly Hammond

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith

Ken Hoopes

Ladas Hoopes McNeill Law Office

Paul Jackson

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP

Kevin Even

Smith, Haughey, Rice & Roegge

Susan Cloutier-Crain

Pat Donahue

McDonalds

Mary Price

Peter Kurdziel

Basilica Center

Dale Nesbary

Muskegon Community College

Suzanne Richards

Grand Valley State University

Tom Schaub

Virtu Artists

Alan Steinman

Annis Water Resources

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 ? Yes
  • 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/19/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data