Arts, Culture, and Humanities

West Michigan Symphony Orchestra

aka West Michigan Symphony Orchestra

Muskegon, MI


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


President and CEO

Ms. Carla Hill

Music Director

Mr. Scott Speck

Main Address

360 W Western Ave 2nd floor

Muskegon, MI 49440 USA


symphony, musical community outreach, classical music, quality of life, arts, culture





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

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 2017, 2016 and 2015.
Register now

Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Add a problem overview to your profile.

Update now

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Subscription Concerts

Where we workNew!

Add a map of your service areas to your profile.

Update now

Charting Impact

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.

External Reviews



West Michigan Symphony Orchestra

Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to view a Sample Report.


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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

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?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable