Updating the Louisville Orchestra

By Henry Mayer

"Our orchestra belongs to all of us in this community. It is a priceless asset and we are determined to keep it. And we are going to do just that!"

The speakers are Stan Curtis and Phil McHugh, newly elected Board members and President and Vice President for Finance. Impressed by what has been said about what has been going on in and about the Louisville Orchestra,Louisville Music News first dropped in on the Orchestra's Annual Board Meeting on June 30 and then had an extended visit with these two men.

Curtis and McHugh continued, "We want to say loud and clear there is a new attitude and a fresh spirit of cooperation among all persons and groups connected with the Orchestra. We owe a great deal to the generous intervention of mediator Henry Fogle and we are making use of his experience, insights and recommendations."

"We have been building thoughtful infrastructures with the various groups whose work makes use of the orchestra, including the Ballet and the Opera. We are collaborating with others whose interest and support are indispensable, such as the Fund for the Arts and the Center for the Arts. We are working with other public and private organizations which include but are not confined to city and county government, business organizations and firms, the schools, the university and others too numerous to mention."

"And this effort is paying off. Last season was the first time in fifteen years that the Orchestra balanced its budget! Max [Bragado Darman] has been an inspiration both in the way he leads our musicians and in his method of creating ties with the various persons and groups in our larger community. And Gregg has been doing one hell of a job as the Orchestrals Executive Director. He is talented, tireless and willing to make hard decisions.

We are continually exploring ways and means to reach out to the larger community. One example are our present summer concerts at the Zoo. They help us get the word out about the quality of the orchestra and the people at the Zoo are delighted.

Especially exciting has been the news that Phil's employer, Fifth/Third Bank, offered to sponsor this four concert series. That same enthusiasm led another local employer to buy 800 tickets for the forthcoming third concert.

The reorganization of the Board is going smoothly.

Besides Phil who handles finances, the other Vice Presidents include Peter Foulds (Marketing), Orson Oliver, (Administration), Dick Wolfe (Development), Tommy Hewitt (Board Development), Lucy Shumaker (Education) and a large number of significant others. They meet together at least monthly and each regularly carries his or her own duties and assignments.

Our board numbers 51 and it breaks down as follows: Two members are honorary; six are lifetime; another six are ex-officio and 37 more are elected for designated terms. At our last Board meeting, 14 new members were chosen for a first three year term while three more were elected to a second three terms. The following retiring members were saluted and thanked: Ms. Elizabeth Deknatel, Mrs. Carol Hebel, Messers Harry Herron, Frank Hower and Tom Schifano.

Finally, and by no means least, we want to strongly emphasize two things: we have simply wonderful people in the orchestra and few people know how unselfishly they serve; we also have a young, aggressive, vigorous staff who know their jobs."