Pacific Symphony inspires, engages and serves Orange County through exceptional music performances, and education and community programming. Its vision is to lead a renaissance in the appreciation, accessibility and impact of classical music in Orange County and the region, through creativity, responsiveness and innovation.
Mr. John Forsyte
17620 Fitch Suite 100
Irvine, CA 92614 USA
Symphony, arts, education, music, culture
IRS Filing Requirement
This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.
Programs + Results
What we aim to solve New!
Pacific Symphony was established in 1978 to serve the classical music needs of Orange County, and to provide music education and community engagement for school districts lacking arts learning programs. The Symphony's education and community initiatives were developed to meet the need of declining in-school arts programs and to supply quality music activities in local neighborhoods. Facing ongoing budget cuts, schools continue to rely on Pacific Symphony to furnish valuable music education for their students. The Orange County Cultural Indicator Report shows that only 38% of the county’s school districts have policies to include arts programs in their schools. Less than 2% of district budgets allocate for the arts, and just 5 of the 27 county districts employ arts administrators. With a ratio of arts specialists of 1 in 1,147, these statistics demonstrate the strong need for arts programming in embattled school districts to fill the void of music in the classroom.
What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Pacific Symphony presents over 100 performances each year to more than 275,000 community members in venues throughout the County. The Symphony consists of 88 musicians, led by Music Director Carl St.Clair. Every season includes classical, pops and family concert series, semi-staged opera presentations and an outdoor summer series. Programming also includes a chamber music series, three youth ensembles for middle and high school musicians, and performances by Pacific Symphony at SOKA University.
CLASS ACT - ELEMENTARY MUSIC EDUCATION
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Class Act is an award-winning music education program offered by the Symphony to 30 elementary schools. Each partner school is provided with a trained, Symphony musician who performs and teaches numerous music workshops based on a common core standard theme. Classroom teachers are provided with training and lesson plans by Symphony education directors to augment the musician's workshops and each school is provided with a Family Night performance of 5 Symphony musicians onsite for students and families to appreciate together. At the end of the year, every student in grades 2-5 is bused to the Rènee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall to experience a performance by Pacific Symphony. As a culminating activity, students are given the opportunity to interpret what they have learned through art, music, dance, theater, and creative writing in an all-school assembly in front of their families.
K-12 (5-19 years)
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General
Santa Ana Strings - Violin Instruction for Underserved Children
Santa Ana Strings serves approximately 300 fourth and fifth grade students from under-served public schools in Santa Ana. The program is carried out in partnership with Santa Ana Unified School District and the non-profit THINK (Teaching Helping Inspiring & Nurturing) Together. All students enrolled in select elementary schools receive intensive violin instruction from certified music educators in both small and large group settings, as well as the use of a violin for the duration of the program. Instruction is intended to encourage students, who would not otherwise be exposed to instrument instruction, to continue their education in middle and high school programs. Student performances are an integral part of the program and range from formal presentations at Symphony concerts to casual school and community site recitals. Transportation to attend concerts and community events is provided for families and friends of all participating students.
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
HEARTSTRINGS - Making music accessible to the under-served
Through HEARTSTRINGS, the Symphony provides free access to concerts, hands-on wellness activities, transportation and after-school music instruction for a broad range of under-served local residents. Musical experiences are customized to help partner organizations throughout Orange County fulfill their own unique missions and to provide the most meaningful impact on program participants. Nearly 5,000 community members engaged in the 2012-13 program including low-income youth and families. HEARTSTRINGS recently broadened its focus to offer a music wellness component in collaboration with organizations that benefit the mental and physical health of those in need. Some of the many partnering organizations that participate in HEARTSTRINGS include Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), El Sol Science and Arts Academy, Orange County Therapeutic Arts Center (OCCTAC), Orange County Rescue Mission and Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).
PACIFIC SYMPHONY YOUTH ENSEMBLES (PSYE)
Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles (PSYE) is a premier performances program, nurturing and inspiring young artists. As part of Pacific Symphony's vision, 21st century youth ensembles and their contributions to the community have been redefined. The Youth Ensembles include three performing ensembles: Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble, and Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings. All three benefit from the artistic vision of Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair, who acts as the artistic adviser for all activities. PSYE performs in the world-class Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, as well as at other venues in Orange County. Students enjoy a variety of interactions with Pacific Symphony musicians including sectional coachings, master classes, and side-by-side performances. Each ensemble enjoys an annual weekend retreat, where members engage in intensive three-day rehearsals and bonding activities. Representing 72 middle school and high schools in and beyond Orange County, PSYE focuses on performance training in large ensemble settings for students in grades 6 through 12. Students are selected through annual auditions, which take place each spring. Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings is led by music educator Irene Kroesen and provides string musicians in grades 6 through 9 with quality string and performance instruction. Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra is led by Assistant Conductor Alejandro Gutierrez and provides 100+ string, wind and percussion musicians in grades 9 through 12 with intense orchestral training. Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble is led by music director Gregory X. Whitmore and provides wind and percussion musicians in grades 8 through 12 the opportunity to refine their skills in a high quality and innovative wind symphony environment.
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
Where we workNew!
Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
How will they know if they are making progress?
What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
The five organizational goals follow, which will lead to the attainment of Pacific Symphony’s mission and vision. 1. Establish Pacific Symphony as a beacon of artistic achievement and Orange County’s artistic ambassador to the world. 2. Attract, engage and serve a larger and more diverse audience in Orange County and the region by enhancing and leveraging the Symphony’s innate versatility. 3. Engage with the diverse community to inspire curiosity, improve well-being, and connect to local citizens through a deeper appreciation and love of classical music. 4. Recruit and retain board, musicians, staff and volunteers with skills, creativity and passion, so that Pacific Symphony has both the human capital and organizational capacity to achieve its future vision and goals. 5. Develop an optimal mix of philanthropic, earned and capital resources to ensure long-term capacity to achieve strategic goals.
A five-year strategic plan was developed and implemented to serve as a blueprint for the organization from 2016 to 2021. Strategies and tactics are outlined and detailed in the plan for each of the five organizational goals. For example, in working towards establishing Pacific Symphony as a beacon of artistic achievement, the organization advanced its brand awareness to the national and international markets during the 2017-18 season. Leading into its 40th anniversary, major promotional and public recognition reached new heights through three major events in 2018: an invitational debut at Carnegie Hall in April, a successful tour to five major metropolitan cities in China in May, and a PBS Great Performances national broadcast in June 2018. The year produced three of the most important and noteworthy achievements in Pacific Symphony history, made all the more meaningful with an additional $3.1 million secured from philanthropic support above and beyond the annual income goal.
The organization has been a leading arts institution in Orange County, California for 40 years, with senior leadership demonstrating the necessary experience and capacity to achieve the strategic, organizational and aspirational goals of the orchestra. Music Director and Conductor Carl St.Clair celebrates his 30th anniversary during the 2019-20 season; President John Forsyte marks his 20th anniversary in 2018; Executive Vice President and COO Sean Sutton has 16 years of experience with the Symphony; and several long-serving staff members enjoy tenures of up to 20 years each. Pacific Symphony has a strong board of directors, with leaders serving terms of 3 to 6 years in order to keep membership current, relevant and renewed. Moreover, Pacific Symphony has a 28-consecutive-year history of balanced budgets, as of Fall 2018, which demonstrates its exemplary fiscal management.
In order to measure progress towards achieving organizational and program goals, board and staff meet monthly to review financial reports, program results, evaluation data and gauge the effectiveness of the efforts of the marketing and development teams. Surveys are conducted to gather feedback and audience response to concerts, programs and services. Individual departments share reports with the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, and board committees meet regularly to review information. Senior staff and the Board Executive Committee assesses program results, discuss improvements and share best practices with the full Board of Directors. Twice a year during its Annual Meeting and yearly Retreat, the Board reviews progress indicators to ensure that tactics and objectives are being met.
Pacific Symphony’s five-year strategic plan is a living document which is reviewed and revised every year (or more) over the life of the document. As such, stakeholders have developed a unifying strategic direction for the future of the orchestra that builds on the success of Pacific Symphony’s artistic, community engagement and experimental initiatives. Potential strategies will always be judged through the lens of financial sustainability. Among the ten strategies are the following three: 1. Continued investment in artistic excellence, attaining the highest standard of achievement, and recognition on the national and international stage. 2. Develop additional innovative programs, and evolve the concert experience in order to serve the increasingly diverse community. 3. Holistically leverage community partnerships to respond to the community’s needs and interests, while advancing the Symphony’s vision.
Need more info on this nonprofit?
The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.
Board of Directors
as of 10/11/2018
Ms. Joann Leatherby
Leatherby Family Foundation
Term: 2016 - 2019
Jo Ellen Chatham
President, Cheng Family Foundation
Property Manager, South Coast Plaza
President and CEO Orange County Business Council
John R. Evans
Retired Regional Managing Director, Wells Fargo Bank
President, Insights Worldwide
Vice-Chairman, First Q Capital
CFO, Tangram Interiors
Rondell B. Hanson
Senior Vice President, Grubb & Ellis
President, Bluestone Communities
President, Leatherby Family Foundation
Phillip N. Lyons
President, David Melilli Company
Wealth Management Advisor
Executive Chairman, TextPower, Inc.
President, Ship and Shore Environmental, Inc.
William F. Podlich
Mayor, City of Santa Ana
H. Warren Siegel
Retired Superior Court Judge
Partner, BDO Seidman LLP
Troob Capital Management
President, Farmers & Merchants Bank
James Newton Howard
RSI Holding Co.
Bank of America
University Medical Pharmaceuticals
Bart van Aardenne
Vinculums Services, Inc.
Zion Enterprises LLC
Carothers DiSante Freudenberger LLP
United Exchange Corp
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board Leadership Practices
GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION
Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?
Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY
Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?
Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?