Sometimes, in the midst of turmoil, we don’t need to be reminded that we must change and adapt. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded to have hope. American orchestras are in great need of a message of hope, and after this recession– can you blame them?
Dolly Parton has always had a way with words, her simple metaphor is the title of this article. But, the message is incredibly relevant to American orchestras. It is important to remember that during this time of economic uncertainty that all arts organizations should dig down deeply into the soil of their community and put down the roots that will feed and nourish their tree.
If the orchestra symbolizes the tree and the storm becomes the hostile economic and political environment; the soil represents the community we serve and the roots are the way we connect to the community. The storm we are all weathering forces us to change the way we pay attention to our roots. Do we grab the earth like a stalk of corn, with one major root shooting into the soil– tall, top heavy, and draining the soil of its vital nutrients? An organization that relies too heavily one source may not be able to withstand the storm if the winds bear down upon it too heavily. Or has the Recession and harsh political climate caused us to grow root systems like the Aspen Tree?
Did you know that Aspen Trees grow in families that share incredibly complex root systems? The roots of different single trees can fuse together and share nutrients and vital resources from the soil. This represents the orchestra or arts organization that builds true partnerships with fellow arts organizations. Because of its very complex root system, it helps prevent the soil from eroding, or in other words, the community partnerships add value to the community and fortify it, not deplete it of resources.
The good news is that the economy seems to be on a slow, but steady path to recovery, and we live in a era of social media where we can reach out and connect with more people at once then ever before in our history. It seems that we have at least plateaued if not begun an uphill swing. However, what has the storm of the past 4-6 years taught your orchestra or performing arts organization? Are you embracing your community like the Aspen tree? Or are you merely a fixture upon it?
P.S. Saturday January 19th was Dolly Parton’s birthday. Hey Dolly, we hope you had a good one!