Shreveport Symphony – A Tangled Web…

Columbus is getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere and as the situation unfolds many more of us will weigh in I’m sure.  The current dispute in Shreveport is getting very little attention and there is something quite disconcerting going on there that I’m afraid might cause an audience disconnection…..(There is an update 3/28/03 at the bottom)

  • Full Disclosure:  Some years back I applied for the MD position in Shreveport but didn’t get invited to be a finalist after the telephone interview, this is not sour grapes!

Drew’s excellent series on new media goes into great detail about the benefits of the numerous  media tools and outlets now available to individuals and organizations. The series focuses on the two way relationships that new media can create to help with accessibility, growth and success.   Of course when reaching out with new media, you want to be sure it’s the right message you want to bring across.  As an orchestra we need to create a foundation of trust with our audiences (including future ones) and supporters in order to be effective.  One of the foundation cornerstones is the web-site, a 24/7 relationship building tool and portal into an organization.  At the very least it’s informational, but it also needs to help define an organization’s mission and identity if it’s to be effective (we are redoing ours for next season).

In Shreveport their site has now been essentially hijacked to become primarily the board and management mouthpiece in the current labor dispute.  If you go to it here, you will see several diatribes in huge font like this headline in all caps:

SHREVEPORT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA INVITES MUSICIANS AND COMMUNITY
TO EMBRACE BOARD’S COMMITMENT TO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

This is so potentially damaging.  If you were living in Shreveport and thought, maybe we should check out the Symphony, would you buy a ticket after seeing this headline?  There is nothing about any upcoming concert on the home page, little positive at all, just “us against everyone” and the audacity of calling themselves in the headline the SHREVEPORT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.  They are the board/management NOT THE ORCHESTRA!!!!  Here’s the Orchestra.  It could have been handled with a simple “if you would like to hear the latest news about the current negotiations please click here”, or just put in the news section, not to hide but to at least give people a choice of whether to read it or not.   Why accentuate the negative ?  The bio for instance of their Music Director Michael Butterman is from the 06/07 season!  So they update their “position” daily, but not their MD’s bio for over a year?    They have essentially dismantled the orchestra’s identity and created a new one of division and acrimony.

I wont go as far as to believe that the management and board are trying to turn their present and their future audiences away to win their argument, but this is what it could do.  In fact they should look at the musicians site.  It doesn’t force you to read anything negative, it’s very respectful and positive with the statement A Great City Deserves a Great Orchestra prominently featured on the home page.  It made me want to explore the site.  The Orchestra’s site makes you want to exit immediately and worse, never come back!

Bilde I have a bone to pick with the Shreveport Times also (although at least you can leave comments there!).  The picture left from this article about the crisis (there is good financial info) is captioned Shreveport Symphony tuba player J.D. Salas . I’m sorry, it’s just a picture of his Tuba!  Please print faces, they deserve to be seen.

Salas_jd This is J.D. Salas

Update – posted 3/28/08

Seems they have somewhat tweaked their site as clicking on the above orchestra link shows. It slightly improves it.  To see the original homepage I wrote about, click here.


Our sump pump failed in the heavy rain last week causing our basement to flood, a news crew came to our house at random!  Here is the clip.

2 thoughts on “Shreveport Symphony – A Tangled Web…

  1. Cogent notes on the SSO struggle, Ron. The lack of ability to present an appropriate message on
    the web sites – I don’t think the orchestra site has the smartest message, either – is symbolic of the organizations’dysfunctionalities.

    What do I suggest re the musicians’ site? A much less wordy, graph-aided explanation of the money issues and more up-front warm fuzzies about the community and the orchestra.

  2. A Tangled Web Indeed

    If you haven’t read it yet, Ron Spigelman posted an excellent article on 3/22/2008 at Sticks and Drones about some recent changes made to the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra (SSO) website. Although the ongoing situation in Columbus has had a great

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