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Symphony of the Mountains gathering input for long-range plan

Holly Viers • Apr 9, 2018 at 11:30 AM

KINGSPORT — Symphony of the Mountains staff members are planning for the future, and they want to hear from you.

Melissa Roberts, interim executive director of the organization, said many community members already provided feedback at a recent long-range planning meeting, but it’s not too late for others to voice their opinions.

“We would like to start doing this every three years,” Roberts said, “and just kind of continuously check in with the community.”

What happened at the meeting?

During the three-hour meeting, which was held March 24, attendees were asked what they believe Symphony of the Mountains does well, how it could improve and if they had any ideas for the future.

A group of about 80 people from throughout the region attended, including patrons, donors, board members, elected officials, educators and people who had never been to a Symphony of the Mountains concert.

“It was an experience that I will not soon forget to have those people so engaged and so involved. ... They have made this process an exciting process for the symphony,” Roberts said.

Though Roberts and other staff members are still evaluating the data that came out of the meeting, one of the most commonly mentioned ideas was for the symphony to continue collaborating with other organizations in the region.

Another interesting takeaway from the meeting related to sports, which Roberts said sometimes compete with the symphony’s concerts.

“We are a very sports-oriented culture,” Roberts said. “We have UT and Virginia Tech and NASCAR, and a lot of times, the time that we have concerts is in competition with that. … So there was this whole conversation around embracing that sports culture (and) bringing the sports into the symphony.”

What’s next?

Once all the data has been analyzed, Roberts said, the detailed long-range plan will be shared with those in the community who provided their input.

After that, Roberts hopes to begin implementing the three-year goals starting this year, while the five-year goals will be a little more flexible.

“I’ve been in planning sessions where you never hear what happens at the end. You give them all this information and you give them all this data and all these ideas, and you never hear what happens,” Roberts said. “So we do want them to know that this is how they’ve helped us plan the next three to five years.”

Those who would like to share their thoughts or ideas for Symphony of the Mountains can email the organization at info@symphonyofthemountains.org.

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