Belated Presidents’ Day: A few thoughts on leadership

It’s the day after Presidents’ Day, and it’s got me thinking.  What kind of leaders are we choosing, supporting and serving as in the arts?  There has never been a time more crucial to the future of classical music and other arts disciplines, and the way we choose to move forward matters. 

  • Will we fight for equitable access to what we do?  
  • Will we make bold choices in what we program?  
  • Can you commit to being a courageous performer whose commitment to excellence, and not just survival, will inspire others? 
  • Can we make better music and resist the urge to settle for what’s easy and familiar?

Opening up is scary, with budgets slashed, audiences and congregations reduced (if only temporarily), and fans distracted by the myriad streaming options that have kept them occupied during a very long shutdown. Feeling relieved at new opportunities will not be quite enough. Re-engaging our beloved listeners will take guts, innovation, passion for our craft, and even wide-eyed wonder.  

Action, not just verbiage

This is all very high-minded, but if we don’t regularly and thoroughly examine what we do and whether or not it’s effective and satisfying, then we’re just spinning our wheels.  The best news is that our next phase could be SO much fun. It’s a time to embrace what brought us to the creative life in the first place, and to remind ourselves and everyone around us that what we do has an irrepressible spirit as well as profound meaning.  If you’ve forgotten that, or simply lost the sense that music is tangibly important in human lives, reconnect with it now in some way. Every one of us matters, and the way we live in the arts world affects the next generations.  That’s a huge burden, but it’s also an extraordinarily joyful privilege, and can only be met one step at a time.  

So, what are you ready to fight for?  Where will you lead us?

Originally part of Lauri’s List’s member enews, issue dated Tuesday, February 22, 2022.

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