Arkansas Symphony Orchestra exists to connect, enrich, inspire and advance Arkansas through the power of music. The ASO is a nonprofit organization with an annual budget of $3 million that serves over 125,000 Arkansans through inspirational concerts, music education programs and free concerts throughout the state. I have been privileged to serve ASO as executive director for five years and look forward to the next stage as we become stronger partners in downtown Little Rock and deepen our involvement in central Arkansas as Robinson Auditorium is renovated.
Why do you love your career?
The ASO transforms lives, families and generations through music. I get to hear how taking violin has inspired a child to get on the honor roll for the first time, gives a child hope through a college scholarship and more.
What are your goals for the future?
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is in an amazing position with our move to the South Main Creative Corridor and with the Robinson renovation. We anticipate the new downtown space being used continually in music engagement programs by children from the neighborhood and beyond.
Knowing what you know now, what’s the best advice you could have given yourself when you were first starting out?
Three themes: the neighbors don’t care and if they do, they only want what’s best for you; keep a big bottle of grace in your tool box for you and others – everyone makes mistakes; and enjoy this moment.
What has been the greatest moment in your career?
In Mobile, Alabama, our orchestra started violin instruction in elementary schools. One year, our composer-in-residence Kenji Bunch helped them compose. At our spring concert, over 50 young children came on stage and performed their premiere with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra.
How did you know this is what you wanted to do?
In college, I was editor-in-chief of the newspaper and principal cellist for the orchestra. When I realized I could add value and earn a living with a professional orchestra using the skills I developed as editor, I never looked back.
What is your best personality trait?
My daughter Jubilee said my best personality trait is the ability to make up silly songs to sing to her.
Restaurant: Boulevard Bread Company
Song: “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2
Book: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Gadget: Coffee maker
Vacation Destination: Anywhere that needs a passport