1. Who is in charge? Orchestras Central Trust (OCT) has a board of six trustees. The board is responsible for the strategic direction of the Trust.  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. There are various sub-committees who  support the CE in different aspects of OCT operations. This includes activity of  Opus Orchestra, TWSO, Rusty Players, Opus Ensemble and YOW (Youth Orchestras Waikato).
  1. And in the office?  The OCT office has four staff who manage the bulk of the day-to-day operations of the 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, sharing information and each person is responsible for different aspects of delivery.
  • Susan Trodden – CEO – Overall responsibility for the organisation, managing relationships with sponsors, marketing, funding, overseeing the whole team, liaising with other stakeholders and reporting to the Board. Susan is the first point of contact for the MDs, media, the Board, and OCT stakeholders.  She also makes the coffee and brings the biscuits.
  • Loren Bennet – Office Manager – Looks after accounts, contracts and payments, and keeps the office running smoothly.  She manages the payroll, works alongside our accountants, keeps our databases looking good, and ensures there’s not too many to do lists on the pinboard. Loren is a classical music lover and once-upon-a-time clarinet player.
  • Katrina Carswell – Orchestra Planning Manager – This is a massive role in which Katrina is responsible for player fixing, soloist/guest player travel and management, preparing contracts, the library, player communications, logistics and the myriad tasks required to make our concerts happen. She is first point of call for players and is supported by the orchestra librarians and player reps.  Katrina has played with TWSO for many years and also plays in the Rusty Player Orchestra.
  • Euan Safey – librarian and general hard worker. Euan is a full time music student at the University of Waikato, and plays with all of our orchestras.
  • Catherine Polglase – Rusty Player Conductor, YOW Player Manager and assistant conductor, and occasional violinist with TWSO. Catherine works remotely doing all the things we can’t, and keeps things running smoothly for our youngest musicians.
  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.
  • The team also includes Moses, our Stage Manager, and intern Natalie, who assists us in the office.
  • Our current volunteer team includes our librarians, stage managers, player reps, truck drivers, and many others who check in with the appropriate person in the OCT office depending on their responsibilities.
  • Opus Orchestra is led by Music Director Peter Walls, and Rupert D’Cruze is Artistic Director – Community. The Senior Youth Orchestra has its own conductor, as does Rusty Players.  OCTavo is a conductorless ensemble.
  1. So how does this player rep thing work then? 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 administration team (Susan or Katrina 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 MDs? What’s their role in all this?  Each orchestra has its own Music Director, and currently these MDs are also the Principal 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.  MDs 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 via ‘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 is a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, an Instragram account, regular press releases, and of course this 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, and there are groups for each town, and for each of the other orchestras..
  1. Who pays for all of this?  We have a number of key funders who are committed to the success of Orchestras Central.  Trust Waikato are our foundation sponsor, along with support from 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!  Our community orchestras rehearsal at the HInemoa Rehearsal Rooms, and Opus Orchestra has it’s home at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. 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.
  2. Can I see information about past events? Yes!  We keep an archive for each orchestra, and also publish our programmes on issuu.com

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