Were it not for the business of running the Culver City Symphony Orchestra, I would have never known the business of Steve Rose and his running the Culver City Chamber of Commerce. After some years in the orchestra’s in the 2nd Violin section, where I still am, I joined the orchestra’s Board of Directors in 2000, the year the orchestra moved to Culver City from Westchester upon invitation from the City of Culver City.
In 2004 I became orchestra president, and executive director two years later. I had very little to work with, and was chasing whatever information I could on how to operate the orchestra in Culver City. There was this invoice from the Chamber of Commerce, which was paid, and this caught my attention. I started attending Culver City Chamber of Commerce events to try to get to know Culver City, and this is how I got to know Steve Rose.
While the orchestra is a non-profit organization, I do try to run it like a business, but many days it runs me. I am a musician, teacher, and composer. I was not business minded. My first chamber breakfasts were confusing and intimidating. They were nothing like the musical social circles, events or concerts to which I was accustomed. They were run like Steve: boisterous, with cutting wit, and boosterism for businesses. I was floundering at these monthly meetings, and in trying to run the orchestra with little organizational knowledge to tap in to.
Steve saw this. He saw I was trying, though floundering. But I didn’t quit, and I found I could respond to his pointed barbs. I could take it, and give it back. He liked that. Eventually he saw that I, nor the orchestra, were going away, and we became friendly.
Eventually he became a good mentor, a confidant, sometimes an adversary of types, but as those of us who found out at his memorial at Hillside Memorial, Steve was adversarial. His thinking was basically black and white, and not favorable to the nuances of thought found in the performing arts. Maybe the shaded thinking and outlook of those of us in the arts became appealing to him, and as much as he changed my outlook towards business, maybe I changed his towards the arts. Steve was not inclined towards the performing arts, but somehow he moved his inner compass and would attend CCSO concerts which always made me glad.
At his memorial I was astonished to learn of all he did to move Culver City to its prominence today as a place to live, work, play-and attend symphony orchestra concerts. Those are tremendous accomplishments, and Culver City should be very grateful to the man.
Luckily, my minor was in Communications which has helped me run the orchestra. Moreover, I worked many various jobs outside of music, including a stint at a life insurance company, Executive Life. There I took industry sponsored business classes, but as I said, my head was not in business. I graduated from college cum laude. I was on honor rolls. I had NEVER failed a course until I took those business classes. That is where my head was. But with Steve’s guidance, inquisitiveness (a very needed quality in business and the arts), and his business experiences he helped me see the business side of running an orchestra.
Steve would hire orchestra musicians for chamber events, an incredibly warm and supportive gesture.
Steve helped me find a path in the business of trying to run an orchestra, and he somewhat helped me navigate the maze of the dealings and workings of and in Culver City.
I will be forever grateful to him.