Episode 27 - The PB MBA

How do you found, much less sustain a non-profit arts organization for 55+ years? This episode attempts to answer that question. 

When we proposed this episode to define a theoretical “MBA of Philip Brunelle,” his response was, “good luck.” Turns out there’s plenty to reveal. And it all starts with that most important trait/skill/characteristic: Curiosity. “It must be your north star,” Philip replies. We began at the beginning: 55 years ago Philip founded an arts organization. We discuss where the name VocalEssence came from. And we talk about what constitutes his approach—as a startup going from zero to “n.” Philip details a deliberate mindset, a vision which informed how VocalEssence (at the time called the Plymouth Music Series) operated. We discuss consistent Philip’s approach to managing, hiring, budgets, rehearsing and board relations. Then we talked about the importance of truly understanding your audience. As Philip puts it, VocalEssence’s audience is, “always willing to hear new things, provided they are produced top notch. They know they will be challenged (by the repertoire) but they also know the performance will be world class.” Finally, we dive into Philip’s reaction to a non-profit fundraising challenge articulated by the author and educator Seth Godin. This episode ends with “The Earth Adorned”  performed by the Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis choir from the album Praise And Thanksgiving—Music And Spoken Word.