FAQ

  1. Who is in charge? Orchestras Central Trust (OCT) has a board of 9 Trustees. This Board is responsible for the strategic direction of Opus Orchestra, TWSO and UYO (United Youth Orchestra).  The board meets monthly and is made up of a very experienced governance group, many of whom have been involved in Orchestral music as players, governors and administrators, but other key aspects of governance are also represented. OCT has replaced the three individual Orchestras’ boards. There are various sub-committees who  support the CE in different aspects of OCT operations.
  1. And in the office?  The OCT office has four staff who manage the bulk of the day-to-day operations of all three Orchestras.  This is largely the work previously done by an Orchestra management committee, but there is no one person responsible for a specific Orchestra – we all work across all three, sharing information and each person is responsible for different aspects of delivery.
    1. Susan Trodden – CEO – overall responsibility for the organisation, managing relationships with sponsors, funding, oversees the whole team, liaises with other stakeholders and reports to the Board. Is first point of contact for the MD’s, media, the Board, and OCT stakeholders. Full time.  She also makes the coffee and brings the biscuits.
    2. Kristin Hartley – Office Manager – looks after accounts, contracts and payments, and keeps the office running smoothly. Works part time over 3 days.  Supported by people within Opus and TWSO who have previously managed player contracts.  She manages the payroll, works alongside our Accountants, and ensures there’s not too many to do lists on the pinboard.
    3. Anne-Marie Bird – Arts Administration –  looks after player lists, contracts and fixings, library, soloist/guest player travel and management, player updates, and web content.  Works part time over 3 days, and is first point of call for the player reps. Supported by the Orchestra librarians and player reps.  When she’s not here, Anne-Marie also works as a Cello teacher and for Sistema.  Sometimes she even has time to play with TWSO.
    4. Sharon Stephens – Events Manager – responsible for concert marketing, venue management and contracting, all future planning for the three orchestras (manages the diary for OCT and also liaises with other organisations) – works part time over 3 days a week during term time only, and in the office only one day a week.  First point of call for our Designer, Matt Pryor and media contacts relating to concerts, venues, stage managers and also looks after our Friends database. Sharon is a violin teacher and performer and definitely drinks more coffee than the rest of us.
  1. That’s a long list of responsibilities – is anyone else involved? Sure is, and although there’s four of us in the office, realistically we need many more to ensure everything gets done.
    1.       The team also includes Matt, our design partner, who is contracted for 3 hours a week to handle all our design work across the three orchestras and OCT itself.  We are in the process of building a new website which will be managed at the ‘back end’ by Milk Studio, but the content is handled from the OCT office.
    2.       Our current volunteer team includes our librarians, stage managers, player reps, van drivers, and many others who check in with the appropriate person in the OCT office depending on their responsibilities.
  1. So how does this player rep thing work then? It’s not something TWSO or UYO have really had in the past.  Opus Orchestra has had an elected player rep for a number of years, and lots of players thought it would be a good idea for the other Orchestras to have this too.  The player reps’ duties vary slightly depending on Orchestra, but essentially they are the ‘go to’ for the players, bringing information and ideas back and forth between the players, MD, and Admin team (Susan or AnneMarie as first point of contact).  As a player rep is ‘on hand’ for rehearsals and performances, it makes sense for there to be a single point of contact for each orchestra.  In some cases, for example handling absences of players, the Player Rep can be the collator of information from Section Leaders (who will know who is there or not!), and feed this back to both the MD and the Admin team.
  1. And the MD’s? What’s their role in all this?  Each orchestra has its own Music Director, and currently these MD’s are also the primary conductors of their respective orchestras. The MD develops the orchestra, and creates a plan of performance which comes back to the Board for approval before turning into a formal programme of events.  MD’s work closely with the CEO and representatives of the Board but are generally not involved in the operations of the Orchestra.
  1. How do I find out what’s happening? When are rehearsals, or concerts, and anything else I need to know?  We send a player update regularly to players relating to their upcoming concerts. We also send regular stakeholder updates, Friends news, and a ‘whole of database’ CEO update a couple of times a year.  For ease of administration, we are moving all of these to a programme called ‘Mailchimp’.  If you’ve not received anything from us for a while, please check your SPAM folder, and add us as a safe sender to your address book.  Please do not unsubscribe from Mailchimp emails if you are a current player, as this is our primary form of communication. There are also Facebook pages for each of the orchestras, a Twitter feed, regular press releases, and of course our website where everything from player profiles to concert dates can be found.  Rehearsal schedules, bowed string parts, dress codes and other key information  for players will also be on here. This new website is nearly live.
  1. Where do I go if I have a problem as a player?  Initially you could talk to your section leader, or your player rep.  They can then refer you to the right person within OCT.  Depending on the issue, you’ll talk to one of the team mentioned above.
  1. I’d like to get involved more – who do I talk to about that?  Give Susan a call direct.  She will point you in the right direction.  There will always be plenty to do and many hands make light work – whether you want to help the orchestra, or help in the administration, we can find something rewarding for you to do!
  1. I’ve got a bright idea – who do I tell?  Again, please give the office a call.  We can ensure you get the right ear listening!
  1. What about ‘Friends’ – who are they?  Opus Orchestra in particular has a very strong Friends support group.  We are working on getting this going for the other orchestras.  Again, this requires commitment from our loyal supporters and we are currently growing our database to support this.
  1. This whole thing seems to be taking a while to get going – what’s the delay?  As you can imagine, moving 25 years of knowledge and operations from 3 orchestras – and multiple volunteers –  to one new organisation is taking time.  We have 700 players, 10,000 concert goers, 12 venues, 25 soloists and around 30 concerts – and that’s in just one year – so your patience as we migrate the work is appreciated.  We are also working on developing workplans and manuals for each part of what we do to ensure nothing gets missed.  We are always open to feedback too so please let us know if you have something to share. Contact Susan in the first instance for this.
  1. Who’s paying for all of this?  We have a number of key funders who are committed to the success of Orchestras Central.  Trust Waikato have provided the bulk of the seed funding to get the office established, along with support from Hamilton City Council, Creative New Zealand and WEL Energy Trust.  We continue to seek other funding for the delivery of concerts and events.  In a voluntary management system, the huge task list involved in putting an event to stage leaves little time to focus on growth issues (funding relationships, sponsorship, audience etc), and we believe that the investment in the Trust operations for the first few years will improve efficiencies and give us opportunities to grow ALL the orchestras and so make us an attractive proposition for other investors. We have lots of exciting projects in the pipeline!
  1. I still have no idea who or where you are – so where are you?   We have offices upstairs at The Meteor at 1 Victoria St.  Please come and see us – there’s always coffee on and we love having visitors!  At the moment, the Orchestras continue to use the same rehearsal and storage venues.  Our hope is that one day we will have our own home for this but in the meantime it’s business as usual for each Orchestra. The fastest way to contact us is by email.  As most of the staff are part time we endeavour to get back to you within 48 hours.
  1. I’d like to contribute financially – is this possible?  Well yes it is of course and there’s several options.  A direct donation, sponsorship, providing a product or service, purchasing tickets to a performance, or helping with fundraising are all ways you can help.  We have recently signed up with the Entertainment book. Buy a membership (or several) and 20% of the sale price comes directly to us. AND soon you’ll be able to use the book to buy concert tickets so it’s a win for everyone.